Medela Recognizes Outstanding NICUs

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Monique LaRocque

Medela Recognizes Outstanding Neonatal Intensive Care Units for Increasing Human Milk Consumption
Best Practices Shed Light on How to Help Moms Provide Breastmilk to Premature Babies

MCHENRY, Ill., February 6, 2014 – Medela today announced the winning neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) for their compelling breastmilk programs helping to improve infant health by facilitating and increasing human milk consumption in the NICU. Memorial Hospital in Gulfport, Miss., was recognized as the first place winner, and the Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio, was the runner up. Medela launched the best practices program during National Prematurity Awareness Month to raise awareness of premature births and the critical role that NICU staff play in caring for premature babies and ensuring they have access to human milk.

One in nine babies in the United States is born prematurely.  Premature babies, born before 37 completed weeks’ gestation, are at risk for both moderate and severe health problems, as well as lifelong disabilities. Premature birth is the number one contributor to infant mortality. Human milk acts much like medicine to premature babies who are vulnerable to potentially fatal diseases such as necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), an intestinal disease associated with a high mortality rate in the NICU, from merely being born too early. Yet many premature babies face breastfeeding challenges because their mothers are unable to establish a milk supply so early in the pregnancy, or because they don’t have the muscles and coordination to nurse directly.

“NICU staff play a critical role in helping mothers overcome challenges in providing premature infants with access to breastmilk,” said Carolin Archibald, president of Medela, Inc. “The best practices of these two facilities should give other NICUs hope that, with the right strategies in place, they too can increase human milk consumption in their own NICUs.”

Memorial Hospital will receive $10,000 in Medela NICU products, and Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital will receive $5,000 in products. Donated products include:

  • Symphony® Preemie+™: A major breakthrough for mothers of premature infants, this research-based program helps support breastfeeding initiation and increases milk supply.
  • Waterless Milk Warmers™: Designed to safely, conveniently and effectively warm milk to a temperature consistent with expressed human milk.
  • BabyWeigh II™ Scale: Provides accurate measurement of baby's weight just before and after breastfeeding; the difference between these two weights equals breastmilk intake.

Human Milk Consumption Best Practices Winners

First Place: Memorial Hospital, Gulfport, Miss.
Mississippi has the highest rate of premature births in the United States and the lowest breastfeeding rate. To overcome these statistics, Memorial Hospital set a goal to increase the number of women who breastfed, particularly the mothers of infants in the NICU. In addition to implementing the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” established by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, the hospital:

  • Required all maternal/children’s RNs to attend a breastfeeding basics class
  • Created a standing order that in part states that if mother is separated from her infant, a Medela Symphony® breastpump and assistance will be provided at her bedside
  • Obtained milk donations from the Austin Milk Bank for infants less than 33 weeks old
  • Increased awareness of human donor milk by becoming the first collection site for the Austin Milk Bank in the state of Mississippi
  • Allowed rooming in with mothers of NICU infants transferred from other hospitals

Exclusive breastfeeding rates increased from one percent in December 2009 to as high as 67 percent in January 2013. The number of NICU infants receiving human milk increased from 38 percent to 80 percent the following year. The rate of NEC decreased from 7 cases in 2010 to only one in 2011. Read more details here.

Runner Up: Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio
The level IV NICU at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital (RBCH) sought to improve breastfeeding or breastmilk expression initiation rate for NICU moms, duration of breastfeeding or breastmilk expression for NICU moms and exclusivity for human milk feeding for all infants weighing less than 1,500 grams. Methods for achieving these goals included:

  • Providing Medela Symphony for each patient room and the Symphony initiation kit for every mother with an infant admitted to the NICU.
  • Providing intraprofessional support for breastfeeding families.
  • Participating in the Ohio Perinatal Quality Collaborative (OPQC) Project (maternal education, care practices to promote milk supply, staff education, use of donor milk)
  • Participating in research to enhance knowledge of breastfeeding and improve support services.
  • Using grant to pay for pump rentals when insurance won’t cover it.

As a result of these efforts, 90 percent of infants in August 2013 were fed human milk within the first 72 hours of life, compared to 35 percent in January 2013; the average time to first maternal pumping dropped to six hours in August 2013 from 25 hours in January 2012; and the percent of infants feeding more than 50 percent mother’s milk in volume increased to 100 percent in August 2013 from 81 percent in January 2012. Read more details here.

About Medela
Medela provides the most technologically advanced, superior-quality breastpumps and breastfeeding accessories to nursing mothers around the world. A longtime champion of breastfeeding and a Healthy People 2020 Consortium member, Medela is the only company to develop products based on research by the world's leading lactation experts. As a result, Medela's breastpumps are the number one choice of healthcare professionals and healthcare facilities worldwide, including more than 80 percent of U.S. hospitals.

Medela has developed an extensive line of products to meet the diverse needs of nursing mothers. These products include hospital-grade, double and single electric and manual breastpumps; breastfeeding accessories such as pump cleaning products, breast care products and specialty feeding devices; and maternity and nursing intimate apparel.

Founded in 1961 by Olle Larsson in Zug, Switzerland, Medela continues to grow under the ownership of the Larsson family. Medela serves customers through a worldwide network of distribution partners in more than 90 countries and its 15 subsidiaries in the United States, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Germany, Sweden, France, Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg), Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, Poland, China and Spain. The company entered the United States more than 30 years ago; its U.S. headquarters are located in McHenry, Illinois.
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