Deaconess Women’s Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital for Women and Children are working together to achieve “Baby-Friendly Hospital” designations, with support from the Welborn Baptist Foundation and a CDC grant.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). It recognizes hospitals that encourage and promote breastfeeding and facilitate bonding between mother and baby. The designation requires implementation of the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.”
This effort is supported by the Welborn Baptist Foundation through a Community Transformation Grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The purpose of the grant is to prevent chronic diseases by promoting healthy, active lifestyles. Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that breastfeeding leads to positive health outcomes for both mother and baby. According to the CDC, a baby’s risk of becoming an overweight child decreases by 4% with each month of breastfeeding. This means children who are breastfed for the first 9 months of life are more than 30% less likely to become overweight, compared to children who were never breastfed.
• Breastfed children have lower rates of many serious illnesses, including SIDS, childhood cancers, and diabetes.
• Both mother and baby enjoy the emotional benefits that come with bonding through breastfeeding.
The goal of this community effort is for both hospitals to achieve Baby-Friendly designation by the beginning of 2015.
For more information on the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative and the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding,” please visit: http://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/