VMC’s Landmark Achievement in Newborn Breastfeeding Rates

FIRST 5 Santa Clara County Commissioners and CEO Jolene Smith on a recent tour of VMC’s neonatal intensive care unit led by Dr. Balaji Govindaswami, chief of newborn medicine.

Valley Medical Center now ranks #7 in the state of California for hospital breastfeeding rates according to a report released by the California WIC Association and the UC Davis Human Lactation Center. VMC has achieved a 90% exclusive breastfeeding rate within 24 hours of a baby’s birth at the hospital.

“This is a great achievement and recognition for all the hard work that the lactation consultants, nurses, staff, physicians, and nurse practitioners have done to improve breastfeeding support to mothers and infants,” said Dr. Priya Jegatheesan, medical director of VMC’s well baby nursery.

The VMC Foundation is very grateful to FIRST 5 Santa Clara County for making a significant investment in VMC’s lactation program. Thanks to FIRST 5 funding, over 300 VMC nurses have been trained in the WHO’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding curriculum and are now providing consistent breastfeeding guidance to new moms hospital-wide.

FIRST 5 continues to support VMC’s lactation program with grant funding for breastmilk analysis, a new strategy to ensure that all newborns are receiving optimal nutrition. FIRST 5 also supports VMC’s new outpatient lactation support group, an effort that has been shown to improve the duration of breastfeeding due to sustained follow-up and support for mothers once they are discharged from the hospital.

Improving breastfeeding rates is just one of VMC’s many important initiatives supported by FIRST 5 Santa Clara County. Other programs made possible with the support of FIRST 5 include a pediatric medical-legal clinic, a dedicated genetics counselor for high-risk births, a family and baby advocate to support low-income families, the purchase of life-saving equipment for the neonatal intensive care unit, and much more. To learn more about FIRST 5 Santa Clara County, please visit their website: http://first5kids.org/

1 reply
  1. JImmie Sue Knight, BSN, RN, PHN, IBCLC
    JImmie Sue Knight, BSN, RN, PHN, IBCLC says:

    With Mother’s Day just passed, I am proud to say my first and most important is to be a mom. While this article demonstrates a sincere desire for change @ VMC and much improvement in awareness for doctors, nurses, and staff in the value of human milk for human babies, there is also room for improvement. As a public health nurse I visit new moms in the home within the first few weeks after birth and follow them for months afterwards. Moms share stories about how their babies were given formula in the hospital, many times for convienience. According to a recently printed article in the Journal of Human Lactation, Irena Zakarija-Grkovic, MD, FRACGP, IBCLC, concluded that ‘Accurate documentation of infant feeding practices is essential for obtaining reliable EBF rates.’ Mother’s reports confirm research that shows without accurate every-feed documentation, many more infants are given formula during their hospital stay than initially reported. Whatever can be done to support new moms with breastfeeding really has lasting results. Many moms are still given depo provera injections before leaving the hospital without realizing the effects this has on establishing a good milk supply. Many are forced to supplement with formula and oftentimes give up on breastfeeding before their baby is even 6 weeks old, sabotaging their ability to breastfeed as recommended by the WHO or AAP.


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