Advocate Christ Medical Center aims to create enjoyable birthing experiences for mothers through its “BFF” or Baby’s First Friend program. A BFF is a trained nurse who puts the focus on mom and her baby to help mom enter motherhood and her baby enter the world.
“We listened to our patients and their needs and designed this program so that they and their babies can get the best care possible,” says Geanette Barry, a registered nurse and BFF at Christ Medical Center. “This program focuses on helping mothers immediately bond with their babies through uninterrupted skin-to-skin care for both vaginal and cesarean births.”
Here’s what a BFF does:
Meets with mom and the family during labor or the pre-op period to explain the plan of care for baby as soon as he/she is born
Stays in the room throughout the birth and cares for the newborn after delivery
Assists with skin-to-skin care and breastfeeding to promote early bonding
Performs a head-to-toe assessment and completes newborn procedures such as weight/length measurements and medications, if needed
Communicates and collaborates with newborn’s care team to promote safety and provide individualized care
By protecting the first hour of life after birth with skin-to-skin care and breastfeeding support, BFFs reduce the negative effects of separation for both mom and baby and enhance the immediate newborn transition period in terms of respiratory, temperature and glucose stabilization. As a result, this can help enhance confidence in women, increase mother-baby bonding and improve overall satisfaction of the families birthing experience.
“I always say I have the best job in the world,” says Barry. “To witness and be able to be a part of the birthing of a newborn but also the birthing of a new family is an amazing experience. The long-term consequences of providing skin-to-skin contact and supporting breastfeeding gives babies a healthier start to life. Mothers are given the opportunity to have an experience that gives them confidence, and the families experience positive memories that will last a lifetime. To impact a family’s experience in such a way is an honor and a blessing to me.”
Advocate Christ Medical Center is part of Advocate Health Care, which is one of the nation’s leading health care networks. A not-for-profit, 749-bed, premier teaching institution with more than 1,500 affiliated physicians, Christ Medical Center is a leader in health care and one of the major referral hospitals in the Midwest in a number of specialties, including cardiovascular services, heart, kidney and lung transplantation, neurosciences, oncology, orthopedics and women’s health. The hospital also has one of the busiest Level I trauma centers in Illinois providing emergency care for more than 100,000 patient visits annually and is a leader in breakthrough technologies, including eICU® (electronic intensive care unit) monitoring, and the robotic da Vinci Surgery System®. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the medical center among the nation’s leading providers for cardiology & heart surgery and diabetes & endocrinology and rated it overall as being among the top four hospitals in Illinois. The hospital is also recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as a Magnet Center. Magnet status represents the highest honor in the nursing profession.