Mother’s milk is important for all newborns, especially those in the NICU. Besides the obvious benefit of feeding your child, breast milk can also act as medicine for your baby, providing critical immunobiological and developmental components that formula cannot replace. Diane Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, the director of CHOP’s Breastfeeding and Lactation Program spent two weeks in India teaching nurses and physicians about human milk and implementation of her 10 Step Model for Human Milk and Breastfeeding in Vulnerable Hospitals.
Spatz visited nine NICUs throughout Delhi and Jaipur, both private and government-run, and noticed that exclusive human milk feeds are non-existent, despite breastfeeding being the cultural norm in India. In Jaipur alone, the four government hospital she worked with deliver more than 50,000 infants each year, with 25 percent going to the NICU.
In order to teach doctors and nurses the impact human milk can have on these vulnerable newborns, Spatz replicated her course taught here at CHOP. Through an intensive education session and hospital experience, was able to teach the first-ever graduating class of lactation nurse counselors in the country.
"In India, improving exclusive human milk feedings for NICU infants is a major public health issue. Nurses are integral in providing evidence based lactation support & care. By replicating my 10 Step Model in NICUs throughout Jaipur & Delhi and by creating a specific role for NICU based nurses to provide lactation support and care, we will improve the health and developmental outcomes of thousands of babies."
Research by doctors at CHOP has shown the impact breast milk can have on the health of babies in the NICU.