Mother-Baby Dyad Care at SLMHC

A presentation on Mother-Baby Dyad Care by Sue Anderson, Clinical Coordinator, on Thursday, January 31st at the first Project Exchange event received a great review by the large group of staff who attended. 

“Mother-Baby Dyad Care is all about caring for the mother and baby together as a unit, including skin-to-skin contact of healthy infants and mothers, from birth and as much as possible in the early postpartum days,” said Sue Anderson. 

Women were having babies long before the medical profession evolved and the survival of the infant was dependant on its mother and being close to her. Modern day hospital routines have gone off track by sterilizing everything and keeping everything as clean and convenient as possible. In doing so, the early maternal-newborn relationship is disrupted for the sake of convenience and efficiency. SLMHC is going back to a more natural way of treating and caring for our mothers and babies.

Sue explained the SLMHC Mother-Baby Dyad supports all of the organizations who have done best practice research and research on best outcomes, including the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada guidelines, our Neonatal Resuscitation Program guidelines, the World Health Organization and the Excellent Care for All Act.

Sue continued, “There are many, many benefits of the mother-baby dyad care. The health of the infant and the health of the mother are at the center of it. We have purchased extra equipment and we bring it to the bedside. This ensures uninterrupted skin to skin, tummy to tummy care for a minimum of two hours. We are going to encourage skin to skin throughout the post partum stage as much as possible. We are going to try and do all of the early interventions and assessments while mom and babe are skin to skin, avoiding unnecessary interventions as well. We do not want to bring babies into the nursery anymore. We are trying to leave the baby with the mother at all times.”

SLMHC has developed three new policies to meet these recommendations: a Safe Families policy, the Standard for Skin to Skin Care and Skin to Skin Care in the OR.

Sue further explained, “The last policy I mentioned is one I have nicknamed the Phillipa policy because about a year ago, when the Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health was making recommendations that we change our practice model, I met a young woman who put a complaint in about her experience as a young mom and her delivery here at the hospital. I was astounded by her nine page letter of what went wrong. So in reviewing her concerns and reviewing the recommendations that the Mother-Baby Dyad had listed, I thought, “You know …we really have something here.” So I’ve worked with Phillipa Griffiths for over a year on picking her brain and trying to understand the mother’s perception of what we do from a patient stand point. The skin to skin in the OR is something that I am really proud of because there are very few hospitals in Ontario that are actually going to that length. They are doing skin to skin as routine care on their maternity units but they are not allowing this type of bonding to happen in the operating room or even in the recovery room. At SLMHC, we do both and it’s always at the mothers request. We won’t force anybody to do this. So when we rolled out our mother-baby dyad plan, I invited Phillipa and her family to come as special guests. I wanted to share with her the fact that when we’re not meeting the needs of the client, we are not doing our job. I was really proud to be able to introduce her to a group of people here and thank her very much for the courage she had, her persistence and her patience with me in meeting all of her needs. I think that the maternity ward has come a long way! We’ve been able to meet her needs which translate to the needs of all moms and meet our mother-baby dyad expectations.”

Rob Cooper, Project Lead, thanked Sue for presenting a really good project that meets an important need with mothers having their babies, and added, “It’s a neat example of bringing a patient, and in particular unhappy patient, into the process and allowing them to guide how we deliver care here.”