Though it has been around for as long as mothers have fed their children, for first-time mothers, breastfeeding is a very new, emotional and sometimes challenging experience that mom and baby have to work through together. That is where the skill and expertise of a Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) Nurse can be a huge benefit to both mom and baby.
NFP Nurses can bridge those gaps, ensuring the success of the moms we serve. Our nurses attend a 40-hour lactation counselor training and are either Certified Lactation Counselors (CLC) or Certified Lactation Specialists (CLS), renewing their certifications every three to five years. In addition, we enhance our knowledge throughout the year by attending breastfeeding conferences, continuing education webinars and community of practice education opportunities.
Before the baby is born, NFP Nurses provide moms with many educational opportunities and anticipatory guidance, so they feel prepared and confident. We use a mix of learning methods, including NFP facilitators, videos and Breastfeeding Boxes, as a way for moms to explore what they already know about breastfeeding and initiate conversations about topics they may not be familiar with. Many of our moms understand the nutritional and health benefits of breastfeeding but are not aware of the bonding and attachment benefits breastfeeding provides in the secondary infancy phase.
We ensure NFP Moms are enrolled in the Women Infants and Children (WIC) nutritional program and connect them with WIC peer breastfeeding counselors and community breastfeeding support groups that can provide additional support before and after the baby is born. We also ensure moms are aware of lactation counselors they can connect with during their hospital stay for support in that crucial time right after the baby is born.
Prior to COVID-19, our nurses would offer to meet moms at the hospital to help them with breastfeeding immediately after delivery and continue providing that support and encouragement after the moms leave the hospital through home visits shortly after they are discharged. Due to the pandemic, we offer the same level of care through telehealth rather than in-home visits to protect our moms and their health and safety.
We also provide support, guidance and resources for future challenges moms face, including returning to work or school, continuing to pump when away from their babies, and providing breast pumps when they are needed. We also teach moms to advocate for themselves on their breastfeeding journey, ensuring they feel confident to speak up in any situation.
Throughout the entire process, our goal is to support, encourage and educate NFP Moms so that they can make the best decisions for their families. Whether they choose to breastfeed or not, NFP Nurses ensure moms are well-informed; having clarity among the misinformation and fear and always have the support, guidance and resources they need to succeed.
To learn more about Goodwill's Nurse-Family Partnership program or to enroll, visit goodwillindy.org/health.