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  1. Edwards, Taryn M. BSN, RN-BC
  2. Spatz, Diane L. PhD, RN-BC, FAAN


This manuscript describes an innovative nurse-driven continuous quality improvement project. Infants born with congenital surgical anomalies face significant challenges within the newborn period and human milk/breast-feeding may not be viewed as a priority. In many hospitals, nurses refer families to lactation consultants for all breast-feeding assistance and support. The Transition to Breast Pathway was developed on the basis of the evidence-based standards and protocols at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The pathway consists of (1) initiation of pumping and maintenance of milk supply, (2) mouth care with human milk, (3) skin-to-skin care, (4) nonnutritive sucking at the breast, (5) transitioning to at breast feeds. A sample of 80 infants were enrolled in this project. Major results of the project are as follows: (1) mother's average milk supply was approximately 603 mL/d, (2) 71% (57/80) of the infants received mouth care with human milk, (3) 48% (38/80) mother/infant dyads performed skin-to-skin care, (4) 60% (35/58) of mother/infant dyads performed nonnutritive sucking at the breast, (5) 100% (58/58) of mother-infant dyads transitioned to breast prior to discharge. This continuous quality improvement project demonstrates that nurses can and should lead the process of transitioning infants to at breast feeds.