Tuesday, August 3, 2010
World Breastfeeding Week
Piknikas by c r z
Happy World Breastfeeding Week! Every year, the first week in August is World Breastfeeding Week. Among other things, the purpose of this week is to highlight the ten steps to successful breastfeeding, which are part of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. The World Health Organization and UNICEF started this initiative in 1991 to encourage hospitals to engage in birth and immediate postpartum practices which encourage exclusive breastfeeding. Of the 19,000 facilities worldwide, the US has a mere 63.
If a hospital birth is in your future, I strongly encourage you to consult this list of the US Baby Friendly hospitals and deliver there. At the birth center, we take our transfers to one of two Baby Friendly hospitals in the Bay Area. It is a display of excellence in maternity care. Women and babies are treated as they should be, an inseparable dyad (unless, of course, medically indicated). Because un-medicated, natural, vaginal births have higher rates of success in regards to initiating breastfeeding, these hospitals tend to support natural births, and offer less interventions. Here are the 10 steps to successful breastfeeding:
1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all healthcare staff.
2. Train all healthcare 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 an hour of birth.
5. Show mothers how to breastfeed, and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.
6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
7. Practice rooming-in - allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
9. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.
Sounds an awful lot like what we do at a home birth!! Maybe that's why our exclusive breastfeeding rates this past year were 99% at 'discharge' and 85% at six months, well above the national average. Enjoy the rest of the week and pat yourself on the back if you're breastfeeding. Way to go mom!!