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LATCH Program: Improving Lactation Support During NICU Stay
Purpose: Improve breastfeeding support and duration of
lactation for mothers with infants in the NICU through counseling by medical
students trained to become Certified Lactation Counselors (CLC’s).
Background: Institutions struggle to provide adequate lactation
support for postpartum women despite well-known benefits of breastfeeding for
mother and baby, especially for those with infants in the NICU. Furthermore,
medical school programs lack sufficient breastfeeding education. The Lactation
Advocacy Through Continuous Help (LATCH) project at Albany Medical Center (AMC)
was developed to provide support to lactating mothers and lactation
education to medical students.
Methods: This project was approved by the IRB at AMC. Two
students (Harkey, VanDerwerker) completed online CLC training through the
Healthy Children Project, Inc. and passed the CLC exam. Students will
initially meet with mothers of infants admitted to the AMC NICU at < 33
weeks within 24 hours of delivery. Parents who consent to participate will
receive weekly phone calls to provide lactation support. Data regarding
duration of lactation, volume of milk provided, and mom satisfaction will
Results: The LATCH study is currently in its pilot
phase. Data will be available July 2023.
Discussions: Despite discussing benefits of breast milk to moms,
our institution has shown a significant decrease in the number of moms who
provide breastmilk as infant length of stay increases. The medical school
curriculum also leaves new physicians unprepared to support breastfeeding
women. The LATCH program addresses both issues by increasing breastfeeding
education for medical students, while supporting lactating moms.
CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting, 2023, Student, Faculty, Clerkship Director, Clerkship Coordinator, Osteopathic Faculty, Patient Care, Medical Knowledge, Professionalism, Systems-Based Practice & Improvement, Interpersonal & Communication Skills, Practice-Based Learning & Improvement, UME, Quality & Safety, Public Health, Advocacy,