Breastfeeding & Lactation

Oklahoma Breastfeeding Resource Center
Malinda Webb, MD, FAAP

In my last column, I reviewed the statistics surrounding breastfeeding in Oklahoma.  This article will cover one of the best sources of breastfeeding help and information in our state:  The Oklahoma Breastfeeding Resource Center (OBRC).

OBRC is a division of the Department of OB/Gyn at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, but they coordinate with a number of state and community agencies across the state.  Their mission is “To improve breastfeeding outcomes through education, advocacy, clinical care and research.” They target healthcare providers and organizations as well as families in their support of breastfeeding.  They have been instrumental in helping many hospitals become Baby Friendly and in promoting breastfeeding support in the workplace.

They can be found at www.obrc.ouhsc.edu, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.  Please check out their website for a wealth of information on everything from online education for physicians, educational pamphlets for your office, in person training for you or your staff, and resources for families such as where to rent pumps.

One of their most used resources is the Oklahoma Breastfeeding Hotline.  Now the Hotline is excited to announce a new TEXTING ability for all mothers in need.  The hotline is a 24/7 service that has been available since 2009.  Starting July 1, they will be able to connect through a HIPAA compliant texting service to help those with infant feeding concerns.  Text availability will be 7 AM to 7 PM every day, while the call-back function will remain available 24 hours/day.  This is a free service for all Oklahomans funded through a Title V federal grant by OSDH’s Maternal/Child Health service and staffed by International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) from across the state.  A Spanish-speaking IBLC is available at times for those who need that service.  Although predominantly for mothers with concerns about milk supply, latch/feeding difficulties, breast pain, I have also called them with some basic questions.  The Lactation Consultants were very helpful and returned my calls in a timely manner.  The Oklahoma Breastfeeding Hotline can be reached by calling 1-877-271-6455 (MILK) or text OK2BF to 61222.

Patients can also be referred to the Lactation Clinic at OU Physicians for clinical lactation help.  You will receive a very detailed clinic note with their evaluation and treatment.  Call 405-271-9494 for scheduling.

If you would like promotional materials for the Oklahoma Breastfeeding Resource Center or Hotline, you may email the Oklahoma Breastfeeding Resource Center at obrc@ouhsc.edu.

Greetings from your Chapter Breastfeeding Coordinator!
Malinda Webb, MD, FAAP

I am currently practicing General Pediatrics at Stillwater Pediatrics.  I have been in Stillwater now for 22 years.  My undergraduate degree was from OSU; my medical degree from OU College of Medicine.  I completed my pediatric residency at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.  I stayed on as Chief Resident and then attending in the Newborn Nursery.  While there, I was a member of one of the training programs through WellStart International in San Diego.  This organization developed a comprehensive breastfeeding management training curriculum for all professionals involved in the care of breastfeeding moms and babies.   I taught breastfeeding through the Newborn Nursery rotation and in conjunction with the Arkansas State Dept.  of Health.  After moving to Oklahoma, I was involved with the Breastfeeding Coalition and helped with many of the WIC and Health Department training programs.   I have also served as your Chapter Breastfeeding Coordinator in the past.

After a hiatus from direct involvement at the State level, I needed to get “up to speed” on where we are and where we need to go regarding breastfeeding.   The 7th Annual Summit on Becoming Baby Friendly in Oklahoma was held Feb.  22.   Much information was given regarding our present State of the State and how to tackle the barriers to improving breastfeeding in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma is currently ranked 47th in the nation in overall health which is worse than the previous year.  Our infant mortality rate is among the highest in the country at 7.4 infant deaths per 1000 live births.  The rate among Black Oklahomans is 13.9 and Native Americans 9.7 according to 2018 statistics from the CDC.  Breastfeeding rates are also low.  The CDC data for babies born in 2015 shows that we are ranked 44th out of 50 in any breastfeeding with 75.9% of babies.  With any breastfeeding at 6 month we are down to 49% which puts us at 45th.  Exclusive breastfeeding at 3 months  was at 44.2%. We actually do a little better on this one with a rank of 35th.   Our rate on this measure has steadily been increasing over the last 10 years.  Our rates are still lower than either Texas or Kansas, however. The lower the income level, the lower the breastfeeding rate throughout the country.  This data comes from maternal recall at 19-35 months as part of an immunization survey so they are not perfect, but the best measure we currently have.  The US Breastfeeding Committee publishes a saving calculator based on 5 maternal and 9 pediatric conditions/diseases that are impacted by breastfeeding.  If we could increase the exclusive breastfeeding rate at 6 months to 80% in Oklahoma,  we would prevent 28 maternal deaths and 9 child deaths as well as saving over $33 million in medical costs, $14 million in nonmedical costs.

With the large portion in our state who live in poverty (22%) and our unhealthy status,  breastfeeding becomes an important part of the solution to improve the health of Oklahomans.  Some of the barriers identified include inaccurate or no information given prenatally or at delivery and then lack of support in the hospital, clinic and workplace.  It is my hope that we can address some of those issues in this column.  Next issue we will discuss breastfeeding resources, but if you have other questions or issues, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at mowebb@stillwater-medical.org.

My thanks to Becky Mannel, MPH, IBCLC, FILCA, Clinical Assistant Professor, Dept of OB/GYN and Petra Colindres, MA, RD/LD, IBCLC at the OK Breastfeeding Resource Center for sharing their information and expertise.