Exclusive breastfeeding rates vary by hospital in Northeast Florida

iStock_000000548251Small b&wExclusive breastfeeding rates during new mothers’ hospital stays varied significantly by facility in Northeast Florida in 2015, according to quarterly data released by the Northeast Florida Breastfeeding Collaborative. Approximately 75 percent of moms that delivered at Baby-Friendly Hospitals breastfed exclusively, compared to less than 30 percent of moms at UF Health Jacksonville.

Click here to see the 2015 rates for all Northeast Florida hospitals. The data is collected from electronic health records and chart reviews by hospital lactation consultants.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about six months because of the myriad of health benefits associated.

Naval Hospital Jacksonville and St. Vincent’s Southside are the region’s only two Baby Friendly Hospitals. The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to encourage and recognize hospitals and maternity facilities that offer optimal care for breastfeeding mothers and babies.

The BFHI promotes, protects and supports breastfeeding through the “10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding for Hospitals.” Hospitals should allow initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of life,  provide no other food or drink, allow breastfeeding on demand and prohibit bottles, teats or pacifiers.

The NEFL Breastfeeding Collaborative created 15 educational sessions required to meet the staff training component of BFHI, to help additional facilitites in the region meet this step of the certification process.

The Collaborative is a network of health care professionals and organizations in Northeast Florida working collaboratively to advance the initiation and duration of breastfeeding among all women. It was launched in 2009 to promote and support improved policies and practices in delivering hospitals in the region. Baby-Friendly Hospital designation for all maternity facilities was a key recommendation for improving infant health included in the 2008 JCCI Infant Mortality Study.