Birth Sisters

Who are the Birth SistersSM?

  • Women interested in helping other women during labor and delivery and in the early days of the new baby’s life at home.
  • Women trained in labor-support techniques and breastfeeding.
  • BMC employees who work with the doctor or midwife as a member of the healthcare team.

What Do They Do?

The Birth Sister will meet the expectant mother when she is pregnant, stay with and support her during her labor, and visit her during the first week at home. She will help with laundry, errands, or the care of other children so mothers can be with their new baby.

How Do They Help?

  • Fewer C-Sections
  • Better Breastfeeding
  • Happier Births

To arrange for a Birth Sister, speak with the midwife or doctor, or call: 617.414.5168.

The midwives and physicians of the BMC Division of Community Obstetrics and Gynecology practice in most BMC-affiliated Neighborhood Health Centers. Call 617.414.5785 or 617.414.5983 for the BMC - affiliated health center closest to home.

Breastfeeding Support

Boston Medical Center is a World Health Organization/UNICEF designated Baby-Friendly hospital. BMC provides families with prenatal breastfeeding information, breastfeeding classes, lactation consultants, breastfeeding rooms (for both parents and staff), peer-counseling support groups, and a telephone support line, 617.414.MILK.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

A specialized team of professionals in the Level III, 15-bed NICU, care for infants who require close observation and additional therapy. They provide families with medical and emotional support.

Pain-Free Newborn Care

Pain Free Newborn Care is a program designed to minimize the pain and discomfort associated with a pediatric patient’s hospital visit.

For newborns undergoing a circumcision, the following analgesics are recommended:

  1. ELAMAX (lidocaine cream) applied to the penis about 30 minutes before the procedure.
  2. Acetaminophen given orally before the procedure.
  3. Buffered lidocaine (with bicarbonate added) administered for penile block.
  4. Sucrose 12% oral solution given by syringe two to three minutes before the procedure.
  5. Pacifier offered during the procedure (but thrown away before baby returns to parents).
  6. Ideally, baby should go back to parents and be held and breastfed after procedure.

For newborns undergoing a blood draw or an IV insertion:

  1. Babies are given sucrose 12% oral solution by syringe two to three minutes before the procedure.
  2. During the procedure, a gloved finger is offered for the baby to suck.
  3. The medical staff attempts to get the baby back to the family or mother as soon as possible after a painful procedure so she can hold or breastfeed her baby.

For newborns undergoing the heel stick associated with the newborn metabolic screen, it is recommended that the physician:

  1. Performing the test while the baby is held skin to skin.
  2. Perform the test while the baby is breastfeeding.*

*Gray L, Miller LW, Philipp BL, Blass EM. Breastfeeding is analgesic in healthy newborns. Pediatrics 2002; 109(4): 590-593.


Susan Minear, MD
Medical Director

Visiting Hours

Fathers and significant others are welcome anytime. General visiting hours for all others are 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM.

Quiet Time is practiced on the unit 7 days per week from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM.