As we close out #NursesWeek (May 6-12), we’d like to salute the 4 million nurses in the U.S. and the many millions more across the globe. But we especially want to celebrate and thank our amazing Welcome Baby RN’s.
When we talk to families about their experience in the Welcome Baby program, they invariably mention how wonderful it was to get a free home visit from a Registered Nurse after giving birth.
Sometimes it’s just the reassurance of having a checkup and hearing from a medical professional that all is well with both mom and baby. But these nurses also provide important support with breastfeeding, parent-child bonding, maternal mental health, and even medical emergencies. (During one visit, for instance, a Welcome Baby RN recognized the symptoms of preeclampsia and helped a mom get urgent medical care. Read about that here.)
Moms who participate in Welcome Baby and other home visiting programs often report that their RNs and home visitors — all of whom are Certified Lactation Educators — gave them critical support with breastfeeding.
Usually, that means providing coaching and various tips to help new moms overcome common challenges like latching and breast pain. But sometimes those common challenges bring up less common issues, which is what happened when Welcome Baby RN Iliana Andrade visited Deborah shortly after Deborah returned home from the hospital.
Deborah said she was experiencing a lot of pain during breastfeeding. After examining baby Matthew, Iliana noticed that he had a significant tongue-tie. Known to doctors as ankyloglossia (“anchored tongue”), the condition means that the tongue is closely attached to the floor of the lower jaw, making it hard for babies to suck properly.
Matthew’s pediatrician had not seen this at the well-baby checkup, so Iliana gave Deborah some information and helped her arrange for an assessment. With Iliana’s support, Deborah got a referral from Matthew’s doctor to an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist, who performed the necessary procedure to release the tongue-tie.
When she followed up, Iliana was pleased to learn that Deborah was breastfeeding comfortably. Deborah was grateful that she was able to get Matthew the care he needed, and grateful to be exclusively breastfeeding her baby.
The story about Iliana and Deborah is adapted from an article in this MCH Advocate newsletter and appears here with MCHA’s permission.
MCHA provides Welcome Baby services to families who give birth at California Hospital Medical Center in downtown Los Angeles. If you know someone who is pregnant and planning to deliver there, let them know about the free Welcome Baby program. Call MCHA at 213-342-3127 to enroll.
Through advocacy, education, training, and direct services, MCHA works hard to improve the health of low-income women and families. Support their work here.