La Leche League Chapel Hill Morning Group's 2007 World Breastfeeding Week Celebrations Grant
Durham NC USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 44, No. 1, 2008, p. 23
Since I became involved in La Leche League, one of the things I have been most interested in is working within the larger community. Probably because of my own background as both a teacher and a scientist, I have been particularly interested in physician education as well as providing support and education through physician's offices, where so much breastfeeding information is given to new mothers.
I have been lucky to have established a collaborative relationship with the Department of Family Medicine at the University of North Carolina (UNC) and a World Breastfeeding Week Celebrations (WBWC) grant seemed an ideal opportunity to extend this collaboration. In the past, I had given several presentations on breastfeeding and parenting to their maternal and child health faculty—both resident and attending physicians, as well as other clinical and support personnel. The 2007 WBWC Grant we received gave us the opportunity to take a two-pronged approach to extending our efforts to educate physicians and support breastfeeding mothers at this medical practice.
First, we put together breastfeeding support packages to distribute to new nursing mothers in the clinic. These packages contain a sling (sold to us at a discounted wholesale rate); THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING; several LLL tear-off sheets; meeting schedules for local LLL Groups; and contact information for lactation support through UNC. I also solicited vendors for donations so we were able to supplement the support packages with cookies, nipple cream, lanolin, socks, soap, and a drink mix.
The breastfeeding support packages are distributed in person through a lactation clinic held at the local birth center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The packages are for nursing women who are about one week postpartum. At the appointment, each mother meets a lactation consultant to talk about breastfeeding, and a local LLL Leader to learn about LLL resources. We are in the process of getting approval from UNC to do follow-up meetings with the mothers that receive the packages, so that we can get some measure of the impact of this intervention. We have past data from the clinic on one- and four-week breastfeeding rates, so we can use those rates as a basis for comparison.
The second part of our project is physician education at the Department of Family Medicine. We have two forums for this: the weekly seminars I just described, and a required seminar for first-year residents. We have already presented seminars on introducing complementary foods, breastfeeding past infancy, and evidence-based parenting advice. We also conducted a two-hour required seminar for first-year residents on the basics of breastfeeding management. My colleague at Family Medicine, Ellen Chetwynd, administered a survey to these residents to assess their breastfeeding knowledge. We then put together a presentation and case-study seminar to address the gaps in their knowledge. During the seminar, we distributed copies of THE BREASTFEEDING ANSWER BOOK POCKET GUIDE and Dr. Thomas Hale's Medications and Mothers' Milk (purchased with funds from the WBWC) to each attendee. The required breastfeeding seminar is a new component to the residency education program in Family Medicine at UNC, and was stimulated by the WBWC Grant.
It has been exciting to use the WBWC funds to make an impact in our community, but perhaps even more exciting is the possibility of using these funds to make and strengthen ties with community health care providers. Because I was able to provide not only my time but also money for breastfeeding support and education, I was able to further solidify my collaboration with local medical providers, positioning myself as a useful resource as they seek to improve support and services for breastfeeding mothers.
Editor's Note: Annually, five percent of the World Breastfeeding Week Celebration's (WBWC) income is set aside to fund USA Leader projects. To apply for a WBWC grant, Leaders need to submit requests for funds that will spread La Leche League breastfeeding information and awareness in their Area, Division, or throughout the USA. Submit your grant request no later than March 31, 2008. The grant application form can be found at http://www.lllusa.org/admin/opportunities.php#grants, or you can contact Pam Mills at lllusa at juno dot com for a copy or with questions.