Spotlight on Cambridge Birth Center’s Kate Reist

Thanks to the efforts of Lactation Consultant Kate Reist, Massachusetts finally has two “Baby Friendly” facilities! After several years of unsuccessfully trying to get both Cambridge Health Alliance and its affiliate the Cambridge Birth Center to go “Baby Friendly” Kate, like many Lactation Consultants, found it difficult to believe that it would ever really happen. Then in 2008 she joined the MBC’s “Baby Friendly Hospital Collaborative” and Dr. Bobbi Phillip of Boston Medical Center (Massachusetts’s only “Baby Friendly” hospital) began mentoring Kate personally. Because Cambridge Hospital had not made as much progress as the Birth Center Dr. Phillips advised Kate to concentrate her efforts on just the Birth Center, but Kate resisted. “I wanted both facilities to go Baby Friendly at the same time,” said Kate. “Bobbi kept saying ‘just do it.’ She said having the Birth Center go first would help pull the hospital forward but I just didn’t see how. I didn’t understand how important it would be in terms of marketing.”

Meanwhile at the Birth Center except for Step Two (educating all staff in the necessary breastfeeding skills) most of the Ten Steps were already in place. This meant having all the nurses and midwives at the Center complete an 18 hour breastfeeding course. Even though the Center would pay for the training the staff resisted. “I don’t have a computer at home, I don’t have the time, etc., everyone had an excuse. But once they took the training everyone got so excited. We even have one midwife who wants to become an IBCLC now!” The new excitement amongst the staff boosted Kate’s energy, “and that was something I never expected,” said Kate. Now that the staff was on board completing the process was easy.

In fact her staff was so highly motivated that on the day of their final assessment one of the one of the “Baby Friendly” interviewers told her that in all the assessments she had done across the country she had “Never seen mothers and families so well prepared to breastfeed.” “We scored 100% on each of the Ten Steps,” exclaimed Kate proudly, “and you only need 80% to pass.” Congratulations Kate! You are an inspiration to all of us!