Tripler expands outpatient lactation support services

Families attend a breastfeeding support group at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, on Oct. 5. Photo by Elaina Hall, Tripler Army Medical Center

Maj. Blair Cook, Tripler Army Medical Center

Maternal Child Health Department

In an effort to work toward achievement of the international baby-friendly hospital accreditation, health care providers at Tripler Army Medical Center, also known as TAMC or Tripler, strive to deliver the highest standard of care while aiming to consistently educate patients about breastfeeding and care for their baby.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, referred to as BFHI, is an evidence-based wellness program that provides families with a strong foundation in the early days of a baby’s life. With more than 90 percent of families entering the facility intending to breast-feed their new baby, BFHI ensures patients receive the same information on breastfeeding, infant feeding and caring for their baby regardless of where they receive care in the hospital.

“One of the most important parts of infant care is ensuring breastfeeding mothers understand they are protected by federal and state laws that allow them to feed their child anywhere they are,” said Elaina Hall, TAMC lactation consultant.

“Tripler offers two private lactation rooms for patients, visitors and hospital staff members to nurse their babies, or pump, privately,” Hall said.

“The rooms are available to use at their convenience and are located at the TAMC Mother and Baby Antepartum and Gynecology Surgical Unit on the fifth floor at section b of the ocean-side entrance,” Hall said.

A high percentage of mothers start out breast-feeding, but as issues occur, they often cannot find resources for assistance. Goals set forth by Tripler’s Maternal Child Department focus on expanding breastfeeding support services and access-to-care to the outpatient lactation clinics located at Tripler, U.S. Army Health Clinic at Schofield Barracks and Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay.

TAMC outpatient lactation support services is a new initiative that began on Oct. 1, designed to provide education and encouragement to assist new mothers to work through the challenges associated with breastfeeding.

“Breastfeeding has been shown to offer babies many benefits, including decreased risk of sudden infant death syndrome, lower incidences of disease and infection and stronger bones,” said Maj. (promotable) Christina Steimle, director of TAMC Maternal Child Nursing.

Patients are now able to schedule one-on-one appointments with a certified lactation consultant for direct assistance with feeding techniques, proper latch, engorgement/breast issues, and pumping either at Tripler, Schofield Barracks or Kaneohe Bay.

In addition to clinical support, TAMC lactation consultants have also initiated breastfeeding support groups embedded within the communities of Tripler, Schofield Barracks and Kaneohe Bay. The support groups offer a place for informal discussion amongst peers and assistance from a certified lactation consultant.

“We understand that breastfeeding can be a challenge and sometimes success with breastfeeding requires outpatient follow-up,” said Dena Bridgford, TAMC lactation consultant.

For more information about outpatient lactation support services offered at Tripler, Schofield Barracks or Kaneohe Bay, call 433-3732.

To schedule an appointment with a board-certified lactation consultant, call the Tripler appointment line at 808-433-2778 (select option 7, then 1).

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Category: News