Infant Health

  • 218,000 More Babies to Be Delivered at Baby-Friendly Hospitals

    Posted August 03, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    NICHQ is proud to celebrate breastfeeding awareness through World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month. These observances come on the heels of a report detailing impressive results from Best Fed Beginnings, a NICHQ-led, groundbreaking national initiative to help hospitals improve breastfeeding-related maternity care and increase the number of Baby-Friendly hospitals in the U.S.

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  • Medicaid Reimbursement Policies for LARC Aid Awareness, Use

    Posted July 29, 2015 by Claire Rudolph and Ellen Pliska of ASTHO

    LARC methods include intrauterine devices (IUD) and hormone contraceptive implants that prevent ovulation. While women can begin to use LARC at any time, ACOG has identified the immediate post-partum (IPP) timeframe as being particularly favorable due to the convenience for both patients and providers, as well as increased motivation of women to seek contraceptives. Even with this guidance, rates of LARC insertion during IPP remain low.

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  • States Put the Squash on Smoking During Pregnancy

    Posted July 24, 2015 by NICHQ

    One of the core strategies for lowering the U.S. infant mortality rate is to reduce smoking before, during and after pregnancy. Smoking during pregnancy is associated with multiple fetal health risks, including sudden unexpected infant death. Currently, 21 of 53 states and territories that are part of the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality (IM CoIIN) are testing different smoking cessation methods in their communities.

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  • Parent Partner Advice: Get Involved in Any Way That You Can!

    Posted July 15, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    Andrea Thompson is a parent partner on the quality improvement team for the Kingwood Medical Center in Kingwood, TX. The hospital is participating in the Texas Ten Step Star Achiever Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative, which seeks to help hospitals improve their maternity care practices to better support mothers who choose to breastfeed. Thompson has been extremely active with Kingwood’s breastfeeding support group, as well as its social media efforts to engage mothers. We recently sat down with the mother of a 3-year-old boy, Troy, to find out more about her role as a parent partner.

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  • Alaska Shows Perinatal Regionalization Works to Reduce Infant Deaths

    Posted July 13, 2015 by Kristie Velarde

    When Stephanie Birch, RNC, MPH, MS, was a new nurse in 1982, Alaska’s infant mortality rate was the highest in the nation. More than 30 years later, Alaska sits at the opposite end of the spectrum, with the lowest rate of infant deaths. While it wasn’t a quick fix, Birch says Alaska shows significant improvement is possible. "You have to be willing to be open to the possibilities for improvement,” she says. “And, don’t give up.”

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  • Retraining Staff to Prioritize Breastfeeding

    Posted July 09, 2015 by Rachel Kremen

    About 80 percent of the women giving birth at CHRISTUS Hospital - St. Elizabeth in Beaumont, TX breastfeed with 50 percent exclusively breastfeeding during their stay. The exclusive rate is up 13 percent from just two years ago. The increase is a result of considerable efforts to retrain staff, eliminate formula giveaways, prioritize skin-to-skin bonding between mother and baby, and educate pregnant women about the benefits of breastfeeding.

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  • Why I Participate: By Parent Partner Malorie Thurman

    Posted July 02, 2015 by Malorie Thurman

    Malorie Thurman, a mother of three, says she joined the Texas Ten Step Star Achiever Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative as a parent partner as a way to see that mothers are given the best possibility to experience the outcome they desire with their delivery. "This was my opportunity to give back to those who had been so helpful to me and my family. It is a wonderful feeling knowing you have been an intricate part of such amazing changes that will impact so many people in and around your community."

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  • Hospital Breaks Barriers for Cesarean Section Couplet

    Posted June 23, 2015 by Kristie Velarde

    Incorporating system-level changes at hospitals to stop the separation of mother and baby post C-section has been a particularly challenging area for hospitals. But with months of coaching from NICHQ about how to implement system changes under their belt, nurses at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center knew a recent scenario was an opportunity for change.

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  • Strengthening and Leveraging Preconception and Interconception Health

    Posted June 15, 2015 by NICHQ

    In a blog post co-authored by NICHQ's IM CoIIN Project Director Elaine Fitzgerald, read about how national partnerships are elevating the work of promoting women's health before (preconception) and in between (interconception) pregnancies.

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  • Fire Chief Puts Baby Skin-to-Skin

    Posted June 09, 2015 by NICHQ

    One nurse at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital has taken spreading evidence-based maternity care practices to a new level—well, more accurately, a new place: a home delivery.

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  • Investigating a Possible Link Between Substance Abuse and Infant Mortality

    Posted June 04, 2015 by Rachel Kremen

    Washington state is known for having a low rate of infant mortality—fifth lowest in the U.S. But the state is still actively working on reducing infant mortality even further. In fact, leaders in the state are developing an interesting strategy that targets substance abuse.

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  • A Positive Step Toward Exclusive Breastfeeding Rate Improvement

    Posted June 02, 2015 by NICHQ

    A recent study published by Pediatrics highlights that the percentage of hospitals distributing formula to breastfeeding mothers at time of discharge has decreased significantly in recent years, a positive sign toward hospitals embracing evidence-based maternity care practices that support a mother’s choice to breastfeed.

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  • Best Fed Beginnings Hospital Still Making Headlines: MUSC Opens First Milk Bank in South Carolina

    Posted May 29, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    Best Fed Beginnings alumni hospital Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) has launched a milk bank in South Carolina. The milk bank will provide breast milk to very low birth-weight babies (weighing less than 3.3 pounds) in neonatal intensive care units throughout the state.

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  • Inspiring Video: How States Are Reducing Infant Mortality Rates

    Posted May 21, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    In this new video from the IM CoIIN project, you can hear success stories and strategies being used to reduce infant mortality and eliminate racial disparities in cities, counties and towns across the US.

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  • Keeping the Donations Flowing Past the Halfway Mark

    Posted May 19, 2015 by NICHQ

    Your support allows us to continue our multi-sector, multidisciplinary work to reduce infant mortality and improve birth outcomes in the United States. While we hope you will take our $50 challenge and donate to our campaign, we would be remiss if we didn’t shine a light on some of the other great organizations within “The Next 10” campaign working on global infant health initiatives.

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  • Making Breastfeeding Support a Community Affair

    Posted May 14, 2015 by Kristen Holmstrand

    In Plattsburgh, a small town in upstate New York, creating a support group for breastfeeding mothers may have been driven by the local hospital, but it quickly became the community's baby.

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  • High-Profile Coverage for a High-Passion Concern

    Posted May 11, 2015 by Lauren A. Smith, MD, MPH

    We are excited and galvanized by our progress so far in reducing infant mortality and hope you will help us spread awareness about this critically important issue. I invite you to participate, learn, share and donate through the Huffington Post fundraising campaign. Our eyes are on the prize of reducing infant mortality and eliminated disparities in infant mortality.

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  • Putting Unsafe Sleep Marketing to Bed

    Posted May 08, 2015 by Tricia Finnerty

    It's vitally important that parents and other infant caregivers receive consistent and accurate messaging on safe sleep—from their healthcare providers, their support systems, state agencies and what they see in media and retail. But unfortunately, expectant families receive a lot of mixed messages.

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  • A First Response to Safe Sleep Habits

    Posted May 06, 2015 by NICHQ

    Thousands of infants die each year in unsafe sleep conditions. Sadly, the majority of sleep related deaths are preventable. One innovative and successful approach to reduce this tragedy is to train law enforcement, fire rescue squads and other first responders to educate families about safe sleep habits.

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  • Advice from One MD to Another on Supporting Breastfeeding

    Posted May 01, 2015 by Todd Wolynn, MD, IBCLC, MMM

    I’m often asked how I, a man, got involved in breastfeeding medicine. The truth is: I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. And that experience made me the right person.

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  • Why I Participate: By Parent Partner Lilia Rodriguez

    Posted April 28, 2015 by Lilia Rodriguez

    Prior to our daughter, Selah, being born in 2013, I had many visits to the doctor’s office with concerns about medical issues. I was told we would have to wait and see how the delivery went: “You may require a scheduled C-section.” The first thought that raced through my mind was: I want to be alert to breastfeed my baby.

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  • A New Day Aborning for Childbirth

    Posted April 21, 2015 by Jeannette T. Crenshaw, DNP, RN, LCCE, IBCLC, NEA-BC, FAAN

    Because safe and healthy birth sets the stage for successful breastfeeding, we also need focus in a similar way on the actions everyone can take to promote safe and healthy birth.

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  • LARC Accessibility, Knowledge Key for Better Interconception Care

    Posted April 15, 2015 by Rachel Kremen

    Contraception is often the last thing on a woman’s mind right after her baby is born. But increasing maternal access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) immediately after delivery could have a positive impact on the health of the newborn and future siblings.

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  • The Secret to Increasing Hospital Breastfeeding Rates

    Posted April 09, 2015 by Emily Trask

    As hospitals work to increase exclusive breastfeeding rates, they are often challenged by staff members who are resistant to new processes and workflows. Several hospitals are successfully overcoming this obstacle by fostering staff change agents who are involved in the decisions on changes to existing workflows.

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  • What’s Behind NYC's Drastic Decrease in Infant Mortality Rates?

    Posted April 07, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    The saying, "if you can make it here you can make it anywhere," of New York City, holds true for even its youngest members. New York City’s infant mortality rate - 4.6 deaths per 1,000 live births in the first year of life - is nearly 30 percent lower than the US rate. What’s the city’s secret?

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  • How Delaware Became a Model for States in Preventing Infant Deaths

    Posted March 11, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    Delaware is capturing the attention of the nation as a source of public health and healthcare innovation. The state’s commitment to examining its infant mortality data, searching for common themes and then creating awareness campaigns to address the unwanted trends is leading to fewer infant deaths.

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  • Improving Statewide Breastfeeding Rates through the Learning Collaborative Model

    Posted March 06, 2015 by Kristen Holmstrand

    NICHQ recently spoke with Veronica Hendrix, LVN, IBCLC, RLC, program coordinator for the Texas Ten Step Program, to get her perspective and advice for other states seeking to expand breastfeeding rates and support.

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  • Breastfeeding Collaboratives Provide Road Map for Long-Term Success

    Posted February 16, 2015 by Kristie Velarde

    Increasing exclusive breastfeeding rates can seem like a lofty goal for some hospitals, particularly when rates hover below 20 percent. Several hospitals participating in NICHQ-led learning collaboratives found a path that not only brought double-digit growth, but also set the stage for Baby-Friendly designation. Now these hospitals are using best practices to sustain breastfeeding rates and improve outcomes in other clinical areas.

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  • Breastfeeding Success Depends On Support During Pregnancy As Much As After

    Posted February 09, 2015 by Pamela Berens, MD

    Most new moms have heard the message that breastfeeding is best for the health of their baby. Unfortunately, successfully meeting a breastfeeding goal isn’t always as easy as deciding to breastfeed. Having ongoing education about breastfeeding during pregnancy can help just as much as post pregnancy, yet it is often not emphasized enough.

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  • Find Success and Mirror It - Can It Be That Simple?

    Posted December 12, 2014 by Elissa Faro, PhD

    Childhood malnutrition. Infant mortality. Childhood obesity. Health inequalities and disparities. These are just some of the most demanding problems facing those who work to improve child health. However, these big issues are often seemingly intractable. How do you move the needle when previous efforts have yielded such meager results? One answer may lie in the concept of positive deviance.

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  • Contradicting Assumptions About Infant Mortality Rates: How Far Upstream?

    Posted November 04, 2014 by Charles J. Homer, MD, MPH

    Learning often begins when facts contradict our assumptions. While attending the kickoff summits of the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN) to Reduce Infant Mortality in July, I became aware of at least two facts that contradicted my previous assumptions: (1) that infant mortality rates for non-Hispanic blacks are higher in the upper Midwestern states than they are in the deep South and (2) that the declines in infant mortality in several southern states over the past decade have been steeper than anywhere else in the country.

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  • Improvements in Maternity Care Practice Are Not Easy

    Posted September 22, 2014 by Lori Feldman-Winter, MD, MPH

    As NICHQ’s faculty chair for Best Fed Beginnings, a national initiative that supports hospitals seeking Baby-Friendly designation, I am frequently exposed to pushback regarding the improvements required for a hospital to achieve this designation. Recently, an article published in the Washington Post portrayed Baby-Friendly practices as a problematic set of policies that “force” a new mother to breastfeed against her wishes. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

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  • Why I Struggled to Find My Breastfeeding North Star

    Posted August 27, 2014 by Katrina McCarty, MPA

    As a new mom, I found myself searching for a true guiding presence as I tried to make decisions about caring for my daughter and myself. I knew I wanted to breastfeed her and I assumed it would be easy. I assumed the stars would align and she and I would be deliriously connected and she would be nourished. I assumed a hungry baby and a food source were enough. Not quite.

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  • A Busy Summer: Building Blocks, Babies and Breastfeeding

    Posted August 15, 2014 by Meghan Johnson, MSc

    August is typically a month for relaxing, vacationing and taking long weekends to enjoy the warm weather. At NICHQ, we get our share of R & R, but August 2014 is also a particularly busy and exciting time! In August, we celebrate National Breastfeeding Month and World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7), and as part of that, I am excited to help launch NICHQ’s new breastfeeding project with the New York State Department of Health.

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  • Communicate, Collaborate and Innovate to Reduce Infant Mortality

    Posted July 02, 2014 by Peter Gloor, PhD

    Compared to other Western countries, infant mortality in the US is shockingly high. High infant mortality is a social problem that can only be solved through massive collaboration and out-of-the-box innovation.

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  • What Rosie Revere, Engineer Teaches Me About Innovation

    Posted February 19, 2014 by Marianne McPherson, PhD, MS

    I’ve been thinking about innovation a lot lately, in large part due to a renewed commitment at NICHQ to be a hub for creating and spreading innovations. I am so excited about this commitment because I know that new ideas and new approaches—and building them together—will help create a world in which all children achieve their optimal health.

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  • When Did Breastfeeding Become a Choice?

    Posted January 09, 2014 by Jennifer Ustianov, RN, BSN, IBCLC

    I know the tides are beginning to turn. Recent reports show breastfeeding rates are increasing in the US. The journey back to a more supportive breastfeeding culture has begun in this country. But I wonder whether there is more we can do to accelerate this process, so that from this generation forward there is no question and no need to choose.

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