New breastfeeding program supports moms at home
Breastfeeding can be one of the most wonderful experiences of motherhood. It can also be one of the most challenging. A new UCLA Health lactation program, available at both Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, aims to reduce breastfeeding challenges by offering in-home breastfeeding support to new mothers.
“We provide a strong support system for moms pre-delivery, and while they are in the hospital,” says Debbie Suda, director of nursing, perinatal care, UCLA Health. “However, once mom and baby go home, it can get overwhelming. Now, we can help reduce the stress moms face when they experience breastfeeding difficulties after they are discharged from the hospital.”
Nurses and physicians already provide lactation-consultation referrals while patients are in the hospital, but now they can also schedule at-home services when necessary. Moms can also schedule additional outpatient appointments at The BirthPlace, Santa Monica.
“We’re here to make sure moms can establish a breastfeeding routine that works for them and their babies,” says Georgann Abraham, nurse and coordinator at The BirthPlace, Santa Monica. “Together, we can teach the mom how to properly position herself and her baby for a good latch, ensuring a comfortable breastfeeding experience for both mother and baby.”
The program launched in November 2016 and has been well received by patients, physicians and nurses. “To me, this program is a dream come true,” Abraham says. “We are elevating the care women receive and providing an invaluable service. It is a blessing to work in a place that realizes the importance of programs like this.”
The UCLA Lactation Program is the only program in the Los Angeles area to offer an in-home visit. It’s part of UCLA Health’s ongoing efforts to promote and support successful breastfeeding, a vital part of child health development and mother-baby bonding.
“Women are shopping around to choose where they want to have their babies,” Suda says. “The UCLA BirthPlace offers a number of support services that make UCLA a wonderful option for mothers — and the new lactation program is one more way we are working to better support moms and their newborns.”