Wednesday, August 3, 2016

World Breastfeeding Week - Choosing a Baby-Friendly Hospital

During World Breastfeeding Week 2016, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment would like to remind women about the advantages of selecting a Baby-Friendly Hospital. The health department established the Colorado Baby-Friendly Hospital Collaborative to work with hospitals to offer optimal care for mother and baby. Sixteen hospitals covering half the births in Colorado have joined the collaborative and are working toward a rigorous, nationally certified and continuously monitored baby-friendly designation. So far, eight have been certified and the others are on the path to certification. To achieve this certification, hospitals follow the evidence-based Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding:

1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff. Hospital has a culture supportive of moms and babies.
2. Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy. All staff are educated and can support moms with breastfeeding.
3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding. Moms can make an educated decision on the best feeding choice for their baby.
4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth. Skin-to-skin with baby after birth improves health outcomes, including helping breastfeeding start.
5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants. Give mothers support and resources to successfully breastfeed, if they chose to do so.
6. Give infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated. No formula, water or glucose water to babies, as this can slow mother’s milk production.
7. Practice rooming in – allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day. Let moms get to know baby by spending time together while they are still in the hospital.
8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand. Feed baby as often as baby wants, not by the clock.
9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants. The use of artificial nipples early, other than for a medical procedure, can slow mother’s milk production.
10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center. Provide mothers with breastfeeding resources in their communities so they can get the help and support they need after discharge.

When touring a birthing facility, ask if the facility is Baby-Friendly designated or pursuing designation. For more information or to find a designated facility, visit

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