A report issued earlier this month (August 2011) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says hospitals are setting children up to become obese by failing to provide adequate support for breastfeeding mothers.
- Breastfeeding for nine months reduces a baby’s odds of becoming overweight by more than 30%.
- Even mothers who want to breastfeed have a hard time without hospital support; about one mother in three stops early without it.
- About 5% of US babies are born in hospitals that are designated Baby-Friendly.
- Only 14% of hospitals have a written breastfeeding policy.
- In almost 80% of hospitals healthy breastfeeding infants are given formula when it is not medically necessary.
- Only 1/3 of hospitals practice “rooming in,” in which mothers and newborns are together 24 hours a day.
- About ¾ of hospitals fail to provide ongoing support for breastfeeding mothers when they leave the hospital.
It’s pretty easy to see why the CDC suggests hospitals need to do more to encourage breastfeeding. Fortunately for Frederick-area residents, Frederick Memorial Hospital is well ahead of the curve.
FMH’s comprehensive breastfeeding program – Baby BEST – dates back to 1989. Thanks to our team of on-staff lactation consultants, 84% of new mothers in the FMH BirthPlace start breastfeeding (compared with a 73% national average). The hospital also has a written breastfeeding policy that states breastfed infants will only be given formula if it’s medically necessary.
Our support doesn’t end when mothers go home, either. FMH hosts a weekly breastfeeding mother’s support group and our lactation consultants are available for outpatient consultations and through the helpline (240-566-3880).
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies be fed nothing but breast milk for the first six months of life and breastfeeding should continue for at least one year. It’s not always practical – or even possible – but every new mother at FMH will always have our full support!