Frederick Memorial Hospital is pledging to become a Maryland Best Practice Hospital in the area of breastfeeding support by meeting ten criteria recently adopted by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The ten criteria mirror Baby-Friendly USA’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding:
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
- Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
- Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
- Give infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated.
- Practice rooming in – allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
- Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center.
“We’re committed to implementing these steps here at FMH because the benefits of breastfeeding for both infants and their mothers are well documented,” says FMH Director of Women’s and Children’s Services Katherine Murray. “Babies who are fed formula or stop breastfeeding early have higher risks of obesity, diabetes, respiratory and ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and tend to require more doctor visits and hospitalizations.”
As a hospital, FMH is uniquely positioned to help new mothers feel comfortable with breastfeeding from the very beginning of a newborn’s life. First impressions have a lasting impact, and FMH is dedicated to supporting mothers so they’re prepared to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of life (as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics).
For more information on FMH’s lactation support services, please visit our Baby BEST program website.
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