FDH launches project to help hospitals become “baby friendly”

Bob LaMendola

Project to encourage new mothers to breastfeed their newborns

The Florida Department of Health in Broward County has launched a project to help eight birthing hospitals become “Baby Friendly,” encouraging new mothers to breastfeed their newborns.

Each hospital received a $10,000 grant to change policies to promote the benefits of breastfeeding, while also teaching new mothers to overcome problems and misconceptions that discourage them from nursing.

“Hospitals play an important role in ensuring that mothers have the information, support and skills to make an informed decision when it comes to breastfeeding,” says Dr. Paula Thaqi, Director of DOH-Broward.

Research shows that mothers who breastfeed their children are at a healthier weight than average, and also have a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Children who are breastfed have a lower risk of developing respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, asthma, obesity, diabetes and sudden infant death syndrome.

As part of the initiative, hospitals will adopt the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding,” which included helping mothers start breastfeeding within one hour of birth, practicing “rooming in,” which lets mothers and infants remain together 24 hours a day, and helping start breastfeeding support groups.

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