Breastfeeding support from hospitals key to breastfeeding rates and duration

World Breastfeeding Week…. Day 3

The support new mothers receive from their hospital is key to increasing breastfeeding duration and raising breastfeeding rates, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One in three moms stops breastfeeding with support from her their hospitals. Breastfeeding lowers the risk of obesity, respiratory problems, diabetes and sudden infant death syndrome.

Support in the hospital helps mothers continue to breastfeed once they are home, but instead of helping breastfeeding mothers, many hospitals wait to start the first breastfeed, separate babies from mothers or provide formula to breastfeeding babies.

The World Health Organiation encourages hospitals to become baby friendly facilities by adopting 10 steps.  The Baby-Friendly Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding:

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within 1 hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
  6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice “rooming in”— allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

There are only two Baby Friendly hospitals in Florida and none in the Northeast Florida region, although the Naval Hospital — Jacksonville has submitted a letter of intent to seek the designation.