Success Story: Brigham and Women's Hospital
Brigham and Women's Hospital—a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School and Magnet recognized—spent six years making the institutional changes that would allow them to become a certified Baby-Friendly Hospital. They trained all healthcare professionals on the benefits of breastfeeding, hired more lactation consultants, educated mothers on the importance of breastfeeding—and encouraged them to keep their babies into their rooms instead of sending them to the nursery—to establish breastfeeding.
Despite their top-notching nursing team and their Baby Friend Hospital status, Brigham realized that they still weren’t as holistically mama-friendly as they could be. They were missing a critical component: supporting breastfeeding mothers who worked at the hospital or who visited the hospital, with private places to pump or nurse. So they committed to change.
Hear from Jennifer Riley, RN, IBCLC, a Brigham nurse and board certified lactation consultant, on how Brigham and Women’s became a hospital that fully supports breastfeeding, and how other healthcare organizations can too.
Identify gaps in breastfeeding support.
The hospital’s Baby-Friendly Certification ensured support for breastfeeding babies, but inadvertently limited that support to mothers in the mother-baby unit. When a breastfeeding mom (a patient in another unit or a hospital employee) needed a private place to pump or nurse, the hospital often didn’t have an appropriate option. “It depended on who the mother asked and what space was available,” says Riley. “But usually it was an open office, a vacant patient room, or a closet.”
Find a space-saving solution.
To ensure support for all breastfeeding women at the hospital, the Brigham team realized that they needed more lactation spaces. And building out more space wasn’t an option. Riley knew that in order to get approval, she needed an efficient space-saving solution. When Riley discovered Mamava’s freestanding lactation pods—first at Fenway Park—she suspected they’d be a smart solution for a lactation accommodation that wouldn’t disrupt or displace the hospital’s day-to-day operations.
Find an advocate—whenever you can.
At a reception to celebrate achieving Magnet certification, Riley and fellow nurses started chatting with Betsy Nable, the President of Brigham and Women’s, about the challenges of breastfeeding moms at the hospital and Riley mentioned Mamava. Shocked to hear that finding pumping places was still a problem, Nable was immediately on board with the solution.
Share the love.
Brigham ordered their first Mamava ADA-compatible suite for the first floor lobby and Riley organized a demo for the public and employees. The pod was well-received, especially by the hospital’s many pregnant employees, who were soon requesting access to it. “In order to be truly breastfeeding friendly, you can’t only do it for your patients and not your staff,” Riley said. “We are so pleased to have a solution in place.”