Improving Human Milk and Breastfeeding Rates in a Perinatal Hospital in Japan: A Quality Improvement Project.

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Spatz: 0000-0001-7316-6616

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Breastfeed Med

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PubMed ID



The leadership team at the Center for Maternal, Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, Saitama Medical Center, Saitama Medical University in Tokyo, Japan sought to improve our human milk (HM) and breastfeeding rates for vulnerable infants. This article describes the quality improvement (QI) initiative, which involved the implementation of the first three steps of the Spatz 10-step model for HM and breastfeeding in vulnerable infants. Our main objectives were to ensure that: (1) families were making informed feeding decisions about HM and breastfeeding as a medical intervention; (2) mothers were pumping early and often; (3) the staff implemented HM management; and (4) the proportion of infants who received HM at 1 month of life increased. Using a QI approach led by a nursing team, we were able to achieve all our goals. Our prenatal education was effective at having more families choose HM and breastfeeding versus formula. Our time to first milk expression improved as did the mothers' adherence with pumping early and often. We purchased physical resources to ensure that all milk was efficiently delivered to the infant in appropriate storage containers. At the initiation of this QI project, exclusive HM rates at discharge were only 15%. In only a 4 months time frame, the HM rate at discharge increased threefold to 47%. During the entire year, the portion of mothers selecting formula continued to decrease and HM rates continued to rise.



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