(1/17/13) – The March of Dimes South Carolina Chapter recently awarded the McLeod Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) a 2012 Chapter Community Grant. The $30,000 grant is to implement the "Going for the Gold: Increasing Lactation Support for NICU Patients" initiative.
The impact of encouraging mothers to express breast milk for their at-risk infant increases survival rates, protects the infant from infection and aids in digestion, leading to decreased hospital stays in the NICU.
Through this funding, a McLeod NICU staff nurse will collaborate with local obstetricians and gynecologists to provide early education to mothers on the importance of breastfeeding. As a result, women have the opportunity to consider breastfeeding prior to delivery.
In addition to a progressive community outreach effort, the NICU staff nurse will also provide breastfeeding education to mothers in the preterm labor unit as well as continue to support and encourage mothers to breastfeed throughout the infant’s NICU stay.
Jeanie Elmore, Director of the McLeod NICU, says, "Our staff nurse will still touch base with every admission to the NICU, but now she has an opportunity to reach out to local obstetricians and pediatricians throughout the community.
"Moreover, after discharge, new mothers will now have more seamless communication with our NICU staff nurse, thereby offering them a stronger support system," said Elmore.
One objective of this initiative is to increase the number of infants who weigh less than 1500 grams and are receiving breast milk at 45 days into their NICU stay from 60 percent to 70 percent by December of 2013. Another objective is to increase the number of infants who weigh less than 1500 grams and receive expressed breast milk from birth to discharge from 53 percent to 70 percent by December of 2013.
These objectives stem from the Human Milk Initiative, established by the McLeod NICU in late 2010. The mission of the Human Milk Initiative is to provide human milk products to all infants in the NICU at McLeod Regional Medical Center, especially at-risk infants who weigh less than 1500 grams at birth.
About the March of Dimes
In 2013, the March of Dimes celebrates its 75th Anniversary and its ongoing work to help babies get a healthy start in life. Early research led to the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines that all babies still receive. Other breakthroughs include new treatments for premature infants and children with birth defects. About four million babies are born each year in the United States, and all have benefitted from March of Dimes lifesaving research and education. The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For the latest resources and information, visit www.marchofdimes.com/southcarolina, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
About the McLeod Children’s Hospital
McLeod Children’s Hospital provides the highest level of pediatric care and technology available in the region to children living in Northeastern South Carolina and Southeastern North Carolina. Each year, more than 22,000 children receive care from McLeod Children’s Hospital either as an inpatient, outpatient or rehabilitation patient.
Nearly 100 beds at McLeod are dedicated to serving the needs of children, including those in the Children’s Hospital, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), and Day Hospital. McLeod also offers the services of a specially designated Children’s Hospital Ambulance to transport children and newborns from community hospitals throughout the region to the high-tech, lifesaving specialists at the Children’s Hospital.