Success Spotlight: First NYS Breastfeeding Friendly Practice in Metropolitan Region
"Just yesterday, a mother was having a great deal of trouble establishing breastfeeding and wanted to start formula supplementation. She was referred to our CLC, who provided her with extensive support, and the mother left the office with no further intentions of supplementing. We expect many more of these stories in the future.”
- Dolan staff member
On August 9, 2016, Dolan Family Health Center became the first practice in the Metropolitan area (composed of New York City, Long Island, and the mid-Hudson region) to achieve formal Breastfeeding Friendly designation, an opportunity available to all pediatric, family, and obstetric practices in New York State. With assistance from members of the BFREE team, Dolan successfully implemented the 10 steps developed by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) in approximately one year. As of June 2017, only 43 practices throughout the state have achieved this designation, 27 (63%) of which are in Erie County. A full list of designated practices can be found here: https://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/nutrition/cacfp/breastfeedingpractices.htm.
Dolan Family Health Center is a family medicine clinical practice that serves Huntington Station and neighboring towns in Suffolk County on Long Island. Approximately 83% of its pediatric patient population is covered by Medicaid or has Medical Assistance and is eligible for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.
Prior to working with the BFREE team, Dolan staff was knowledgeable about breastfeeding support, but lacked resources for teaching breastfeeding in the office and did not know where to refer patients for further community support. With leadership buy-in, the BFREE team worked with the identified site champion to develop a written breastfeeding policy, create a birth plan with the obstetrics department, preparing mothers to breastfeed after delivery, provide trainings and culturally-appropriate resources, and support 2 healthcare personnel in becoming Certified Lactation Counselors (CLCs). Dolan staff also partnered with Cornell Cooperative Extension and introduced bilingual Spanish breastfeeding classes.
One year after achieving designation, Dolan’s site champion reports that she has noticed an increase in the number of women willing to exclusively breastfeed from the start of their pregnancies. She has also noticed Dolan staff members demonstrating increased awareness of and sensitivity to accommodating mothers who wanted to breastfeed at the center. She elaborates, “It is most definitely a group effort, and everyone knows what role they play in helping to support breastfeeding here.”