Describe your partnership.
Academic Partner: Olive-View UCLA Medical Cener, David Geffen School of Medicine
Community Partners: Women, Infants, and Children of Northeast Valley; Breastfeed LA
Olive View UCLA Medical Center has collaborated with Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) of the Northeast Valley to provide breastfeeding and lactation support services to breastfeeding mothers in the community for over 20 years. In the last 5 years, Breastfeed LA has provided the technical support that helped Olive View become the first DHS facility to achieve Baby Friendly designation, a symbol of world-class maternity care. Our collaborations with these organizations has been instrumental in the delivery of breastfeeding education, support that has positively impacted knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to breastfeeding.
WIC has been part of Olive View's Breastfeeding Task force meetings, health fairs, World Breastfeeding Week celebration and outreach. We have developed breastfeeding promotion materials that are culturally sensitive to the unique population we serve. WIC also provides volunteer International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) for prenatal breastfeeding classes at Olive View as well as room to room breastfeeding assistance. Collectively the two have successfully helped thousands of mothers initiate and sustain breastfeeding over the course of our partnership. WIC saves lives and improves the health of nutritionally at-risk women, infants and children. The results of studies conducted by Food and Nutrition Services and other non-government entities prove that WIC is one of the nation’s most successful and cost-effective nutrition intervention programs. Since its beginning in 1974, the WIC Program has earned the reputation of being one of the most successful Federally-funded nutrition programs in the United States. Collective findings of studies, reviews and reports demonstrate that the WIC Program is cost effective in protecting or improving the health/nutritional status of low-income women, infants and children. WIC participants who reported having received advice to breastfeed their babies from the WIC clinic were more likely to breastfeed than other WIC participants or eligible nonparticipants. WIC breastfeeding policy and program activities were strengthened in the early 1990's, and between 1996 and 2001, the percentage of WIC mothers breastfeeding in the hospital increased by almost 25 percent, from 46.6 to 58.2 percent. The percentage of WIC infants breastfeeding at six months of age increased by 61.2 percent, from 12.9 to 20.8 percent. Olive View UCLA Medical Center is proud to continue to have such a strong collaborative relationship with an organization that has a proven record of improving breastfeeding rates in our community.
Breastfeed LA is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of infants and families through education, outreach, and advocacy to promote and support breastfeeding. Formerly known as the Breastfeeding Task Force of Greater Los Angeles, the organization was formed in 1994 by a group of dedicated volunteers who wanted to make a difference in the breastfeeding rates in Los Angeles County. Breastfeed LA incorporated as a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation in September of 2001. In addition to Olive View, Breastfeed LA was instrumental in helping Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and LAC+USC Medical Center achieve Baby-Friendly designation through technical assistance. Their LA BEST Health Care Project engaged with 19 hospitals to provide direct technical assistance to achieve or maintain the Baby-Friendly designation. Breastfeed LA also operates the Regional Hospital Breastfeeding Consortium, a popular initiative providing a forum for collaborative learning for hospitals throughout the county. Collaborating with the Department of Public Health, there were 3 meetings convened each month, one in the North, South and East regions of our county. Breastfeed LA continues to work closely with Olive View, as we strive to maintain our Baby Friendly designation. Along with the California Department of Public Health, California WIC, and the California Breastfeeding Coalition, Olive View plans to collaborate with Breastfeed LA in the implementation of the “Nine Steps to Breastfeeding-Friendly Guideline and Evaluation Criteria for Community Health Centers and Outpatient Care Setting,” which is currently being developed.
Currently, Olive View and WIC, and Breastfeed LA's support of breastfeeding aims to create a cocoon of support around new mothers who are so vulnerable to the strains of motherhood and are at high risk for cessation. Our services bolster breastfeeding knowledge, attitudes, and practices. We, at Olive View, provide drop in breastfeeding help from Certified Lactation Educators, a breastfeeding group clinic, and pediatric services, while WIC provides International Board Certified Lactation Consultant services to those patients with unique breastfeeding challenges, while Breastfeed LA provides technical support in maintaining Baby-Friendly designation. Additionally, WIC provides peer breastfeeding support program that provides telephone support to new mothers, delivered in a culturally sensitive way by members of the community who have shared experiences in breastfeeding. All of these are invaluable layers of support crucial to the successful initiation and maintenance of breastfeeding in the immediate post-partum period.
Amigas del Pecho para Siempre, the current program, would add yet another layer of support to this already existing structure by filling an unmet need for home support services for new breastfeeding mother in our community. New mothers are busy constantly, with little opportunity for self-care, much less active search of breastfeeding support services. In a cultural milieu where most of them were bottle feed, with a relative void of family and community knowledge and support of breastfeeding, home visitation from a trusted peer member of the community who has had the shared experience of breastfeeding would be invaluable to the support a new mother needs to successfully initiate and maintain breastfeeding. Mothers in the community would be referred to our program through WIC, social media, and most importantly, word of mouth to receive visits from peer trained educator who is a member of the community. The peer supporter's membership in the community is crucial component of the partnership, as it lends credibility as well as cultural sensitivity to the breastfeeding support that is provided. We would recruit from our existing cohort of breastfeeding mothers who are leaders and quiet champions to become trained in the provision of lactation support, with Breastfeed LA providing training resources. By filling the current void in our community's breastfeeding support services, we hope our collaboration improves our long term breastfeeding rates closer to that of the Surgeon General's Healthy People 2020 goals.