20 Actions in 20 Days: Maternity Care Practices

20 Actions in 20 Days

Surgeon General Regina Benjamin has called on the entire nation to take 20 concrete action steps from the January 2011 Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding to support the removal of barriers to breastfeeding. The United States Breastfeeding Committee is hosting a “20 Actions in 20 Days” campaign to highlight these action steps and implementation strategies.

Action 7: Ensure that maternity care practices throughout the United States are fully supportive of breastfeeding.

With nearly 99 percent of infants in the U.S. being born in hospital settings, evidence-based guidelines developed to ensure quality maternity care should be uniformly and consistently followed to support breastfeeding. Unfortunately, this is often not the case.

The Surgeon General offers four strategies to ensure existing standards are consistently applied to every mother and infant:

  • Accelerate the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. Florida currently has four designated Baby-Friendly Hospitals, with Naval Hospital Jacksonville being the only one located in Northeast Florida.
  • Establish transparent, accountable public reporting of maternity care practices in the United States.
  • Establish a new advanced certification program for perinatal patient care. Criteria for certification would include following the parctices for newborn in the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding established by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund.
  • Establish systems to control the distribution of infant formula in hospital and ambulatory care facilities. Latch on NYC, an innovative program to encourage breastfeeding among new mothers by limiting access to formula in New York City, will begin in 27 hospitals starting September 3rd.

For more information on ensuring maternity practices in your hospital and becoming a Baby-Friendly Hospital, contact the Northeast Florida Breastfeeding Collaborative or the Florida Breastfeeding Coalition. For help implementing the standards of maternity care in your hospital, download the United States Breastfeeding Committee’s toolkit, Implementing the Joint Commission Perinatal Care Core Measure on Exclusive Breast Milk Feeding.