Program Materials & Educational Opportunities

OHA and the Ohio Department of Health is committed to providing information to hospitals, health care organizations and advocates on the value and importance of breastfeeding. Many leading health organizations agree that exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and continued exposure to breast milk for at least the first 12 months is associated with improved infant health and a reduction in infant mortality.



Many medical authorities, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, strongly recommend breastfeeding, as it has been found to be associated with a reduction in the risk of SIDS – Sudden Infant Death. Also, neonatal experts consider breast milk a medicine.

Implementation of “baby friendly” policies is an opportunity to improve infant mortality rate, and substantially improve infant health. Equally important is the coordination of community activities to ensure breastfeeding support is provided to new mothers after their discharge from the hospital.

First Steps Resource Guide

OHA and ODH have partnered to provide tools and materials for participating hospitals and health centers to actively promote the value and importance of breastfeeding. Many leading health organizations agree that exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and continued exposure to breast milk for at least the first 12 months is associated with improved infant health and a reduction in infant mortality. Increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration is the third statewide effort in support of OHA’s infant mortality reduction plan.

To begin the process of understanding the importance of breastfeeding and how your organization can promote its value to your patients and the community, a resource guide was created by OHA and ODH for the First Steps program which provides information on national resources, father/partner engagement, health care providers, state initiatives, sample policies, and data and statistics.

Below are additional materials regarding breastfeeding:

Healthy Babies Maternity Staff Training Program

The Ohio First Steps for Healthy Babies Maternity Staff Training Program offers fifteen free nursing continuing education contact hours upon successful completion of the online courses available through OhioTRAIN [] (Courses: #1079957 & #1087379).

The online modules fulfill the 15 hours of maternity staff education and objectives outlined in the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria. These, along with the five clinical hours, meet the 20-hour education requirement for both Baby Friendly and First Steps designation for Step 2.

First Steps in 2018 released 15 modules that totaled eight hours of education. Newly released in 2019, we have supplemented these modules with additional content to fulfill the full fifteen hours. These courses are hosted separately on the learning platform, so you will see instructions below for both courses. Contact Bre or Ryan if you have any questions.

Module Information:

Additionally, the First Steps team compiled a PowerPoint presentation on Step 2 education for non-maternity unit staff. Feel free to modify or adapt for your needs. This can be as simple as a training during a staff meeting with a sign-in sheet to track completion. This resource can be downloaded here.


Educational Offerings

The Ohio First Steps for Healthy Babies program offers training opportunities to support best practices in promoting breastfeeding initiation and duration.

The Ohio Department of Health, OHA, Cleveland Clinic and All Moms Empowered to Nurse from Cincinnati came together to speak on racial disparities among breastfeeding mothers in Ohio and the nation as a whole. State and nationwide data was presented on the racial disparities mothers face after having a child. Mothers involved in these programs had the chance to share their personal experiences and stories. The goals of this webinar were to bring awareness to current research and data, to discuss challenges associated with conducting clinical work to combat inequities in breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to identify actionable steps to remain connected with mothers as well as how to provide continuous support during their breastfeeding journey during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recorded Session    Slide Deck

Presenter Lydia Furman, MD, from UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital presented the evidence in support of engaging fathers and partners in support of breastfeeding. Sandi Hoch, RN, BSN & Steve Killpack, MS, shared best practices, resources and strategies for engaging with fathers and partners.
Recorded Session    Slide Deck
Fatherhood Wallet Cards version 1 & version 2

Presenters Anne Brower, RN, BS, IBCLC, Maria Greene, RN, BSN, IBCLC, and Mary Shay, RN, MSN, IBCLC, from Premier Health, shared an Ohio best practice on leadership and staff engagement and education. This was followed by an open coaching call where hospitals shared obstacles and solutions around supporting breastfeeding in their facilities.
Recorded Session    Slide Deck

Presenter Beth White, MSN, CNS, from the Ohio Perinatal Quality Collaborative, provided updates around hospital-reported breastfeeding metrics with specific focus around the Ohio birth registry database. Libby Svoboda, MEd, BSN, RN, IBCLC, FACCE, from UH MacDonald Women’s Hospital shared their facility’s processes around quantitative and qualitative data collection. Kayla Gilkey, RN, C-EFM & Marcia Fisher, RNC, BSN, IBCLC, from Licking Memorial Hospital shared examples of how they utilized data collection to drive quality improvement outcomes around breastfeeding.
Recorded Session    Slide Deck

Presenter Mary McLaughlin, BSN, RN, IBCLC from University Hospitals MacDonald Women’s Hospital, demonstrated how to lead a breastfeeding skills lab with hospital staff, in support of Step 2.
Recorded Session    Slide Deck    Example Personnel Competency Checklist

Presenter Kimarie Bugg, MSN, MPH, CLC, chief empowerment officer and change leader of Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (R.O.S.E.), discussed practical ways to address the disparities in breastfeeding. Susan Williamson, RN, BSN, IBCLC, from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, followed by sharing their best practices and successes.
Recorded Session    Slide Deck

In 2016, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center held a conference on the topic of “What Can We Do to Eliminate Racial Disparities in Breastfeeding and Infant Mortality?”. This included many lectures as well as a Grand Rounds by the keynote speaker Dr. Michal Young of Howard University College of Medicine. The First Steps for Healthy Babies program was able to partner with Cincinnati Children’s in order to record and save the sessions from the day.

Instructions to view recorded sessions and obtain continuing education.

Presenter Coe Bell, RN, MSN, IBCLC, Cleveland Clinic and current president of the Ohio Lactation Consultant Association, shared successes and best practices that led to improvements in the exclusive breastfeeding rates at Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital.

Lori Nester from the Ohio Breastfeeding Alliance discussed a newly launched resource created for Ohio practitioners and patients.

Jennifer Foster discussed the 2016 Maternity Care Best Practice Award, hosted by First Steps, OLCA, and OBA.
Recorded Session    Slide Deck

Presenters: Mary (Libby) Svoboda, Med, BSN, IBCLC, FACCE of University Hospitals MacDonald Women’s Hospital, and Jennifer Foster, BSN, RN, IBCLC, Summa Health System
Recorded Session    Slide Deck