Castle Rock Pediatrics (CRP) made a splash this summer at the Douglas County Fair Parade where they displayed their incredible Under the Sea themed float. Patients and families created a colorful array of paper plate fish that “swam” through pool noodle crafted seaweed.
CRP also attended the Renaissance Expeditionary Magnet School Back to School Carnival and the Downtown Castle Rock Concert Under the Lights where they set up a lactation station.
After breastfeeding her own young children and later completing the Lactation Counselor Training Course (LCTC), Laura Westover PA-C, CLC, one of the providers at CRP, dove into helping transform her office into a Breastfeeding-Friendly Employer and soon-to-be Breastfeeding- Friendly Medical Office.
Their work is supported by a grant through the Tri-County Health Department. Westover has been working alongside Susan Howk, a breastfeeding policy specialist, to create their policies and lactation spaces through a six-point plan which includes policy, staff and provider training, patient education, environment, evaluation and sustainability, and continuity of care.
The grant has funded things like a chair, end tables, a hospital-grade multi user breast pump and kits, a stuffed animal nursing dog with her puppies for siblings to play with, and a lactation scale for weighted feeds.
Their lactation space started in one of their smallest exam rooms, but has recently graduated to one of their larger exam rooms, which is now near the end of its renovation. Westover notes that the space also functions for newborn and young baby visits.
Westover reports that CRP owners since November 2021 Drs. Anderson and Bouchillon have been highly supportive of the breastfeeding-friendly changes.
Prior to the implementation of their lactation policies, Westover says their office “was not lactation friendly at all.” She describes stacks of formula in plain view.
“It gave the impression that we were promoting formula,” she comments.
Gift bags for patients were also riddled with formula-promotions, so the team phased out the branded materials and replaced them for non-branded, breastfeeding-friendly items.
Now, Westover and her colleague Sydney Gruenhaupt RN-BSN, CLC see breastfeeding dyads weekly for office visits; whereas they once had to refer out. Of mothers’ main concerns are poor weight gain and uncomfortable or painful latch.
Westover points out that Colorado has very high breastfeeding initiation rates, but like the national trend, tapers dramatically at 6 months and beyond. While Westover and her colleagues are not currently tracking their office’s breastfeeding rates, it’s part of the plan in hopes that their numbers will hold steady beyond initiation rates. Westover explains since they’ve switched over to a larger electronic medical records system, there should be potential for a simple, infant feeding tracking system. A 2016 project by the County of San Diego Healthy Works program, implemented by UC San Diego Center for Community Health with funding from First 5 San Diego extensively explores current practices and future possibilities of breastfeeding measurement in the outpatient electronic health record.
Westover and her colleagues will be out and about again this fall where they’ll craft their lactation tent at events like Oktoberfest and the town of Castle Rock Spooktacular Halloween celebration.
“[It’s] really wonderful because we are able to promote [to] the whole community,” Westover shares.
For more about CRP’s lactation services visit https://castlerockpediatrics.com/Services/Additional-Services .