By Lt.j.g. Ashley Robertson, NC
Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital
Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms joins Naval Hospital Jacksonville as the only two Baby Friendly Certified hospitals in the Navy. At present, 150 U.S. hospitals and birthing centers in the United States hold the Baby-Friendly designation, which represents 5.8 percent of all hospitals in the US.
Currently, scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that breastfeeding is the optimal method of infant feeding and should be promoted and supported to ensure the best health for American women and their children. Breastfeeding is the single most powerful and well documented preventive modality available to health care providers to reduce the risk of common causes of infant morbidity. Breastfeeding can significantly lower rates of diarrhea, otitis media, lower respiratory tract infections, diabetes, childhood leukemia, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Women who breastfeed have a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, breast, and ovarian cancer. Recent evidence suggests that reduction in the risk for cardiovascular and other related diseases may be added to the benefits of breastfeeding for women.
The diverse benefits of breastfeeding translate into hundreds of dollars of savings at the family level, and millions of dollars at the national level through decreased hospitalizations and pediatric visits.
In 1991 the United Nations Child the World Health Organization (WHO) established the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI). The BFHI is a global program to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding. The
core components of the BFHI are the WHO Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, which are designed to facilitate the role of the hospital/birthing center in providing women the choice and opportunity to breastfeed, regardless of the method of birth.
The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding are:
1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated.
7. Practice “rooming in” to allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
9. 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. HE GUIDELINES AND EVALUATION CR