The following are notes from our July roundtable discussion. The topic was connecting with health professionals as a babywearing educator to discuss skin to skin contact and kangaroo care.
Connecting with healthcare professionals: midwives and doulas
When we discuss connecting with healthcare professionals, one of the first groups that comes to mind is midwives and doulas. Birth and postpartum professionals are often asked to help parents with baby carriers, and even if the parents don’t ask, it’s important for childbirth professionals to know how to support parents in ensuring they are following best-practice guidelines when carrying their newborn babies.
- Some things that came up during our roundtable discussion:
- You’ll likely want to approach these classes differently than classes for new parents.
- There are usually no babies at these classes.
- The information you present at these classes is often more general.
- Attendees may arrive skeptical and feeling as if they don’t need new knowledge; prepare for this.
- Networking with midwives and doulas in your area can be a great way to be invited to teach classes like this.
NICUS and kangaroo care
Working with vulnerable NICU babies requires specialized knowledge and care. The ease with which you can enter the NICU space will vary not only from country to country, but from state to state and from hospital to hospital.
Here are some takeaways from our discussion about connecting with hospitals to discuss kangaroo care and skin-to-skin contact in the NICU and in maternity wards in general:
- Use a variety of communication methods when you are trying to get your foot in the door — email, telephone, and traditional mail. If your goal is connecting with healthcare professionals, it’s important to find the people who can help you understand hospital policy and opportunities for in-service trainings.
- The best method for getting buy-in with staff is through direct networking. Reach out to NICU and maternity professionals in the hospitals with which you wish to connect.
- Spend time choosing your language. “Babywearing,” “skin to skin care,” and “kangaroo care” have different connotations. Instead of touting “benefits,” consider using words like “intervention” and “positive outcomes.” It’s important that you are not perceived as suggesting something “gimmicky” for these fragile babies and for staff who are already overworked.
- Working with NICU or maternity parents is very different than working with the professionals within the same space, and may be complicated by HIPPAA or other laws.
- Carefully consider your quality assurance policies.
- Consider whether your insurance covers you for this type of education.
More about BCIA babywearing roundtable discussions
Babywearing Industry Round Table discussions are informal conference chats that allow industry members to network, discuss, and brainstorm on a variety of topics. They are usually held monthly on the 2nd Thursday of the month from 12-1 pm Eastern Standard Time. Industry calls are facilitated by Angelique Geehan, an expert consultant and educator in a number of fields. Please call in and join us! Open to both members and nonmembers; everyone in the industry is invited to join.
These meetings are open conversations among colleagues and peers. Although we generally anchor each meeting with a chosen topic, such as “connecting with healthcare professionals,” participants are able to bring any relevant questions, thoughts, and concerns to our roundtable discussions. Any participant has questions or thoughts arising during a round table that they would prefer to not put out to the entire group, Angelique and Kristi are both available during the calls on the platform chat or afterwards via email, messenger, or chat. Sometimes the conversation moves quickly- we are always happy to backtrack, discuss or provide clarification.