Friday, June 13, 2008

Hospitals Drop the Ball on Breastfeeding

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released it's findings yesterday in the first national report to include breastfeeding practices in hospitals. The results had some surprising statistics. The CDC found that one in four medical centers gave healthy newborns formula or supplements even when their mothers were willing and able to breast-feed.

They looked at 2,700 birth facilities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico and rated them based on labor and delivery, breastfeeding assistance, mother-newborn contact, postpartum feeding, breastfeeding support after hospital discharge, nurse/birth attendant breastfeeding training and education, and structural and organizational quality.

Western and New England states performed the best. Vermont and New Hampshire tied for the highest scores, followed by Maine and Oregon. The lowest scores were seen in 7 southern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia.

What to do if you are looking to breastfeed your infant:
- Ask beforehand if lactation consultants are available at the hospital you plan on delivering at
- Let your doctor and the nurses on call know that you want to breastfeed and ask that they not give your child any formula or supplements
- If lactation consultants aren't available at the hospital, try La Leche League staff or a doula
- Look for breastfeeding classes in the area to take before birth
- Remember that breastfeeding isn't easy off the bat and may take some time and practice. Be patient, stay motivated and get the help you need.

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