HOUSTON (May 07, 2015)

Southeast International Breastfeeding Award Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital recently received the 2015 IBCLC Care Award from the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) and the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA). Memorial Hermann Southeast is the only health facility in Houston to receive this global recognition, and one of only 73 facilities worldwide.

“Receiving the IBCLC Care Award is a phenomenal accomplishment for the hospital,” said Nikole Keenan, RN, BSN, director of Women’s & Children’s Services at Memorial Hermann Southeast. “The award is a testament to our team’s hard work and determination to provide excellent care to help new families reach their breastfeeding goals.”

The award recognizes maternity and community-based facilities worldwide that have current certified International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) on staff. To be considered for the award, a facility must have a dedicated lactation program that is available five to seven days a week and show it has provided recent training for their nursing, medical, and other staff that care for breastfeeding families. In addition, the facility must have implemented special projects that promote, protect, and support breastfeeding and the lactation consultant profession.

Memorial Hermann Southeast works to increase awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding through its Breastfeeding Encouragement Energizes Success (BEES) initiative.

“Facilities like Memorial Hermann Southeast that receive the IBCLC Care Award are to be commended for improving maternal and child health by making breastfeeding a priority and for taking steps to improve breastfeeding support,” says Tomoko Seo, Chair of IBLCE. “An important part of providing excellent breastfeeding care is having expert assistance available when the breastfeeding couple needs it. IBCLC professionals are the health care professionals best suited to provide this clinical help and to help mothers achieve their breastfeeding goals.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, babies who breastfeed have a lower risk of gastroenteritis, respiratory infections, sudden infant death syndrome, obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes, allergies, asthma and lactose intolerance. Mothers also benefit from breastfeeding. The longer mothers breastfeed, the greater their protection against breast and ovarian cancer and hip fractures later in life. Recent evidence has also demonstrated an association between prolonged breastfeeding and postmenopausal risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

“The long-term benefits of breastfeeding for both babies and mothers are undisputed,” says Barbara Kalmen, RNC, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) at Memorial Hermann Southeast. “Research shows that breastfeeding has some of the most wide-reaching and positive, long-lasting effects on your baby's health and development, more than anything else you can do for your little one. As lactation specialists, our goal is to empower mothers who want to breastfeed and help them meet their goal.”

The IBCLC Care Award along with Memorial Hermann Southeast’s current designations as a Workplace Friendly Hospital and Texas Ten Step Facility, demonstrate the hospital’s commitment to evidence-based practice for successful breastfeeding. The Women’s and Children’s Services team at Memorial Hermann Southeast is committed to making dramatic improvements in successful breastfeeding outcomes.

Cutline: Samantha Tomlinson of League City, and her baby boy, Grayson, with (from left) Perinatal Patient Educator Debbie Gleisberg, BSN, RNC, LCCE; Lactation Counselor Nicole Kerbow, RN, CLC; and Lactation Consultant Barbara Kalmen, RN, IBCLC.