Duke Women's Health Launches "Ready Set Baby" Curriculum in Support of Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative

(Photo courtesy of Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute)

In July, Duke Women’s Health practices launched the use of the “Ready, Set, Baby” curriculum for prenatal and postpartum, to support the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative, the gold standard in women’s healthcare. Ready, Set, Baby is an evidence-based educational program designed to counsel prenatal women about maternity care best practices and the benefits and management of breastfeeding, incorporating other important information to help women achieve their goals.

The project is led by Carleen McKenna, RN, Clinical Lead at the Duke Birthing Center, and Eve Hammett, RN, Nurse Manager and Midwife in the Duke Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Implementation began in spring of 2019, when clinic staff and medical leadership began training with the new curriculum in hopes of launching it for use with patients by the end of summer. As planned, patients began receiving Ready Set Baby educational materials in July. In addition to print and multimedia materials supporting the curriculum, surveyors will conduct onsite patient interviews to ensure they are receiving a comprehensive education.

“Ready Set Baby and other efforts supporting the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative have showcased our commitment to patients by allowing us to tap into our strengths as collaborators, educators, networkers and teammates,” said Eve Hammett of the collective efforts made by staff and providers. “It truly is an incredible example of what we are capable of when our clinics and hospitals come together in a collaborative way to support our patients. It refreshes and energizes staff and providers while truly empowering and benefiting our patients.”

The BFHI was launched in 1991 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNISEF) in an effort to give mothers the information, confidence and skills needed to successfully breastfeed their infants, or prepare and feed their babies formula when an informed decision is made to do so.

“Implementing the requirements set forth by BFHI is a journey that takes years to complete, and while we aren’t quite there yet, our efforts have us ahead of schedule in the process. Our imminent receipt of this prestigious designation can largely be attributed to the momentum generated by everyone who has supported these efforts,” Hammett says.

Entities receiving the BFHI designation are symbols of excellence in women’s health and are required to show that they provide moms and families prenatal and postpartum education and support, in clinic and at home. A minimum of 85 percent of patients have to verify that these requirements are met as a final step to Duke’s accreditation.

Other measures taken to achieve accreditation include the use of specific inpatient care standards such as post-partum lactation support groups, which resulted in the launch of Baby Bistro—a postpartum support group and forum for mothers and their babies, hosted at the Durham Public Library.

“The availability of consistent support and educational resources to increase our patients’ knowledge is so powerful. From my perspective, that is a big reason that this initiative is so important,” says Alice Cooper, OGNP, RNC, Medical Director for Women's Ambulatory Services

in Duke’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology—another key participant in implementing BFHI requirements.

“The opportunities to connect electronically using MyChart and Xealth, as well as print materials prompts providers to maintain open dialogue with patients throughout their pregnancies and into motherhood. Knowledge is a powerful tool for providing the best outcomes for our patients and their families and that is our collective purpose as healthcare professionals,” Cooper says.