Brookings, S.D. – May 15, 2019 – The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®) and International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) have recognized Brookings Health System for excellence in lactation care, the only organization in South Dakota to earn the recognition.

Brookings Health System received the IBCLC Care Award in recognition for staffing professionals who hold the prestigious International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) certification and providing a lactation program for breastfeeding families. In addition, the facility demonstrated it has recently completed activities that help protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.

Roberto Issler, IBCLC Chair of the Board of IBLCE, recently stated, “Agencies that are awarded the IBCLC Care Award have dedicated their efforts to promote and provide a lactation program that makes expert assistance available when the breastfeeding family needs it. This is achieved through encouraging and informing breastfeeding families about the benefits and management of breastfeeding as well as training health care professionals to assist families achieve their breastfeeding goals.”

“As a Baby-Friendly designated hospital, we’re continuously looking for ways we can support mothers and babies with breastfeeding,” said OB Director Mary Schwaegerl. “We have four IBCLC nurses and one Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) nurse on staff to help mothers and babies with breastfeeding needs, including free assistance at our bi-weekly New Beginnings Baby Café sessions. We also have the policies and procedures in place to encourage and support breastfeeding, including recently making donor breast milk available to babies born in need.”

IBCLCs focus on preventive care, so they are available during pregnancy to assess and provide information on how to successfully initiate breastfeeding. They continue that assistance after the baby is born by helping families overcome breastfeeding challenges, providing accurate information, and continuing to support them as their baby grows. They assist families returning to work or school, help families in more unusual situations such as breastfeeding more than one baby or nursing a sick or premature infant, and help train nursing staff to manage basic breastfeeding care.

According to Mudiwah A. Kadeshe, President of ILCA, “IBCLCs work tirelessly in all corners of the globe to help parents provide optimal nutrition to their children. We are proud to recognize some of these IBCLCs through the IBCLC Care Award, which highlights the significant contributions of IBCLCs to improving global health outcomes at the local level.”

For more information about the IBCLC Care Award program, contact IBLCE at [email protected]. More information about Brookings Health System’s OB unit, New Beginnings Birth Center, may be found online at

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