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The Joint Commission


AMMC Receives IBCLE Care Award

Shay Willis February 6, 2012

The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBCLE) and International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) has recently recognized Arkansas Methodist Medical Center for excellence in lactation care.

AMMC has received the IBCLC Care Award in recognition for staffing International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Tritia McGrew, RN, and providing a lactation program that is available 5-7 days a week for breastfeeding families. In addition, the facility demonstrated that they have provided recent breastfeeding training for medical staff that care for new families and have recently completed activities that help protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

According to Cathy Carothers, President of ILCA, "This recognition highlights the efforts being made by maternity facilities across the world to help mothers get off to a good start with breastfeeding and to support them in reaching their goals. IBCLCs have the only internationally recognized lactation credential in the world, and are highly skilled in helping mothers with the questions and concerns that can arise. They are also an important part of the overall maternal and child health team by assuring the evidence-based policies and practices are in places that help mothers succeed with breastfeeding."

Elizabeth Stehel, Chair of IBLCE, echoes those sentiments. "Facilities that receive the IBCLC Care Award are to be commended for making breastfeeding a priority and for taking steps to improve breastfeeding support. Health risks from formula feeding for both mother and baby are significant and it is our obligation in every sector of society to remove barriers that
women face when breastfeeding. An important part of providing excellent breastfeeding care is having expert assistance available when the breastfeeding couple needs it. IBCLCs are the healthcare professional best suited to provide this help and often make the difference between success and failure for women attaining their breastfeeding goals."

When asked about receiving the IBCLC Care Award, Arkansas Methodist Medical Center’s International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Tritia McGrew, RN, says, "It is a great honor to be recognized by an international organization that notices our efforts on emphasizing the importance of breastfeeding and starting children off on the right track as newborns. We are one of only three hospitals in the state to receive this award."

IBCLCs focus on preventive care, so they are available during pregnancy to assess the mother and provide information on how to get off to a good start. They continue that assistance after the baby is born by helping mothers latch their babies appropriately and answering their questions, and continue to support them as their baby grows. They assist mothers returning to work or school, and help mothers in more unusual situations such as breastfeeding more than one baby, nursing a sick or premature infant and dealing with other challenges.

AMMC Director of Education Debbie Brehmer, RN, says, "We are pleased to receive this award and support Tritia’s efforts in raising awareness on the importance of breastfeeding. Some of those benefits include increased economical advantages, healthier children and reducing the chance of breast, ovarian and cervical cancers in breastfeeding mothers."

As allied healthcare professionals with the only internationally-recognized credential for professional lactation services, IBCLCs work in hospitals, clinics, public health agencies, private practice, community

settings, government agencies and in research. There are currently more than 25,000 IBCLCs in 90 countries worldwide that are certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners ( under the direction of the U.S. National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

Carothers says that, "Breastfeeding rates are on the rise today and with that dramatic increase the need for trained professionals who can help also increases. Breastfeeding is natural and often works quite well without intervention. But sometimes things happen and mothers need extra support. IBCLCs are the trained experts who know how to work with the entire healthcare team so that a mother’s breastfeeding goals can be met."