BFUSA is pleased to announce that we have released an important set of resources to help providers apply Baby-Friendly principles in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
The BFUSA NICU Toolkit is designed to help NICUs incorporate evidence-based policies and practices. The goal is to maximize the use of breastfeeding and human milk and normalize feeding processes in ways that are supportive to infants and their families. The Toolkit includes the NICU Resources document pictured to the right, as well as related instructional materials to help users become familiar with and make use of these resources to implement improved practices.
All of these resources are available for free HERE.
Please note that BFUSA does not plan to develop a separate NICU certification process or to expand Baby-Friendly certification into neonatal intensive care units beyond what is currently included in our Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria (GEC).
“BFUSA extends its heartfelt gratitude to the members of its NICU Taskforce for their expertise in leading this important project,” said Eileen FitzPatrick, DrPH, MPH, RD, BFUSA’s Chief Executive Officer. “In particular, we’d like to recognize Ann Brownlee, Phyllis Kombol, and Larry Gartner for their tireless efforts to bring this project to the finish line.”
Comments from Ann Brownlee, MA, PhD:
“For many years our BFUSA Board has realized that baby-friendly principles could be of great help to vulnerable babies in the NICU and their families. Several of us have worked tirelessly for a few years with a task force and key consultant to adapt the Ten Steps for the NICU, identify evidence-based recommended practices, and prepare useful tools and guidance. We believed these practices could have great impact. Key national organizations, facilities and practitioners gave valuable input along the way. And, finally, this NICU Toolkit is being offered, free of charge, to all who can benefit from the guidance it provides.”
Comments from Phyllis Kombol, MSN, RNC-NIC, IBCLC:
“In over 30 years of working in NICUs as a nurse and lactation consultant, I saw many families experience their infants’ NICU stay as an insurmountable obstacle to being able to provide their own milk and breastfeed their infants the way they wanted and intended. Yet the infants who are born early or who are sick need human milk and the care of their families even more than infants born healthy and at full term. It is my strong hope that these resources will provide NICU staff members some suggestions and tools for continuing creative improvements in how they help families through the challenges inherent to the NICU experience. It has been my honor and privilege to help develop these resources and guide this project, along with the original task force and the Baby-Friendly USA organization.”
Comments from Lawrence Gartner, MD:
“For many years I have had a dual scientific and clinical commitment to both Neonatology and breastfeeding. The release of this set of guidelines on the application of Baby Friendly principles and practices to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit provides a great opportunity to significantly improve both the use of human milk in premature and challenged term newborns and to bring parents and other family members more effectively into the care of these infants. I hope everyone involved in the care of NICU infants will read and apply the methods provided in these documents to improve the survival and quality of life of these high-risk babies.”