The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a study that shows 75% of newborns in the United States in 2007 — about three million in all — started their lives breastfeeding. That meets the breastfeeding initiation goal established by Healthy People 2010, but CDC experts also note only 43% of babies were still being breastfed at six months of age.
We’ve all heard “the breast is best” for babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least one year, citing benefits ranging from establishing a physical bond between mom and baby to improving mom and baby’s health. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for at least two years, but that’s because mothers in many other countries have fewer healthy, safe options available to them.
Commenting on the Breastfeeding Report Card, Carol MacGowan, Public Health Advisor for CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity says:
“Evidence shows that hospital routines can help or hinder mothers and babies as they are learning to breastfeed. The care that mothers receive from hospitals should always be based on practices that are proven to help them continue breastfeeding after they go home.”
In short, we (Frederick Memorial Hospital) need to help our new moms get on the right track to breastfeed successfully. According to UNICEF, there are several ways hospitals (in general) can make this happen, including showing mothers how to breastfeed, encouraging breastfeeding on demand, establishing breastfeeding support groups and practicing “rooming in” — alowing mothers and infants to stay in the same room 24 hours a day.
We’re pleased to report FMH offers each of those options, and the numbers to proove we’re dedicated to this cause. In fiscal year 2010 we beat the national average with 82% of our new moms breastfeeding their newborns.
How do we do it? Our BabyBEST (Breastfeeding Education and Support Together) program is staffed by certified lactation consultants who are ready and willing to help new moms get started with and continue breastfeeding. The program offers everything from classes for expectant parents to pumps, pillows and other nursing accessories. Have questions or concerns about breastfeeding? Give our experts a call at 240-566-3880, they’re available seven days a week!