Distinction recognizes hospital for efforts to support breast-feeding among new mothers
MAYWOOD, Ill. (January 22, 2015) – Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC) has earned the coveted Baby-Friendly designation. This verifies that the hospital has implemented the ten steps to help new mothers successfully breastfeed.
Loyola is the only academic medical center in the Chicago area with this distinction and one of 232 hospitals and birthing centers nationwide.
"Loyola is proud of this elite designation and the work we have accomplished to support a new mother’s choice to breastfeed," said Pam Allyn, BSN, RN, LCCE, IBCLC, board certified lactation consultant, LUMC. "We know the efforts of our physicians, nurses and staff will help to protect the health of our new moms and their infants."
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program that was launched in 1991 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nationals Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother-baby bonding.
Breastfeeding has several health benefits for both infants and mothers. Breastfed children have far fewer and less serious illnesses than those who never receive breast milk. This includes a reduced risk of SIDS, childhood cancers and diabetes. Mothers who breastfeed have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers, anemia and osteoporosis.
Although breastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive health measures for infants and mothers, exclusive breastfeeding rates are low. According to the CDC, only 76.5 percent of babies are ever breastfed. Of those, 37.7 percent are exclusively breastfeeding at three months, 16.4 percent are exclusively breastfeeding at six months. Breastfeeding rates are lowest among poor socio-economic populations.
Loyola set out to reverse this trend and to better support a new mother’s choice to breastfeed. The organization took a multidisciplinary approach to implement steps to successfully help mothers breastfeed including: educating pregnant women on the benefits of breastfeeding; helping mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth; showing mothers how to breastfeed and maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants; and educating mothers about the use of pacifiers or bottles when not medically necessary.