Hospital makes progress toward 'Baby-Friendly' designation
MAYWOOD – More mothers in the United States are breast-feeding their babies, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued during World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1 to 7, and National Breastfeeding Month. The CDC attributes this to steps hospitals are taking to increase breast-feeding rates among new mothers.
Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is among a select group of hospitals nationwide involved in a first-of-its-kind initiative to significantly improve breast-feeding rates. The National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) is leading this Best Fed Beginnings program with the help of the CDC and Baby-Friendly USA Inc., the national authority for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.
“Loyola is pleased to contribute to this nationwide trend, because breast-feeding is widely recognized as the healthiest choice for both baby and mother,” said Pam Allyn, RN, BSN, LCCE, IBCLC, a lactation consultant at LUHS.
Although breast-feeding is one of the most effective preventive health measures for infants and mothers, half of U.S.-born babies are given formula within the first week, and by 9 months, only 31 percent of babies are breast-feeding at all. Breast-feeding rates are lowest among poor socio-economic populations. The Best Fed Beginnings program is intended to reverse these trends and to increase the number of U.S. hospitals with a proven model for maternity services that better supports a new mother’s choice to breast-feed.
Loyola is working with 90 hospitals in a 22-month learning collaborative, using proven quality-improvement methods to transform their maternity care services in pursuit of a “Baby-Friendly” designation. This designation verifies that a hospital has comprehensively implemented the American Academy of Pediatrics-endorsed Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, as established in the WHO/UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. Loyola has started by creating a breast-feeding policy and training all health-care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.