Women’s Hospital Selected for National Effort to Increase Breastfeeding Rates in US Hospitals - Cone Health

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Published on August 01, 2012

Women’s Hospital Selected for National Effort to Increase Breastfeeding Rates in US Hospitals

Women’s Hospital has been selected to participate in Best Fed Beginnings, a first-of-its-kind national effort to significantly improve breastfeeding rates in states where rates are lowest. Women’s Hospital is one of 90 hospitals selected from 235 applicants to take part in this initiative.

“Women’s Hospital has always been a strong advocate of breastfeeding. There are many benefits to the health of both mother and child through breastfeeding,” says Cindy Farrand, President, Women’s Hospital. “However, support is vitally important. Joining this effort will ensure that mothers who intend to breastfeed are fully supported when they deliver in our facility.”

For infants, breastfeeding reduces the incidence and severity of many infectious diseases, reduces mortality and optimally supports neurodevelopment. It also lessens infants’ risk of becoming obese later in childhood. For mothers, breastfeeding decreases the risks of breast and ovarian cancers, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease.

Despite that, half of babies born in the United States are given formula within the first week of life. By 9 months, only 31 percent of babies are breastfeeding. Best Fed Beginnings seeks to reverse these trends by dramatically increasing the number of hospitals implementing a proven model that better supports a new mother’s choice to breastfeed.

The National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) is leading the effort through a cooperative funding agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will work closely with Baby-Friendly USA Inc.

Women’s Hospital will work with these groups in pursuit of a “Baby-Friendly” designation. This designation verifies that a hospital has comprehensively implemented the American Academy of Pediatrics-endorsed 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding rates are higher and disparities in these rates are virtually eliminated in hospitals achieving this status.

“We look forward to working with Women’s Hospital and congratulate them on their successful application,” said Dr. Charlie Homer, President and CEO of NICHQ. “The large number of applications we received affirms the commitment of hospitals across our country to be part of a healthcare system that truly focuses on promoting health for women and infants. We are especially pleased that we received so many applications from hospitals in states where there are so few facilities with Baby-Friendly designation and from hospitals that serve populations of women who now are much less likely to breastfeed.”

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