Much has been written about the benefits of breastfeeding, but the overarching reason that exclusive breastfeeding promotion is such an important initiative for groups like the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee, World Health Organization, Baby-Friendly USA and the American Academy of Pediatrics is that breastfeeding is a preventive care issue.
Multiple studies have demonstrated that breastfeeding reduces the lifetime risk of diseases such as diabetes, asthma, obesity, heart disease and several types of cancer. As healthcare trends toward keeping people healthy rather than providing sick care, breastfeeding is an ideal way to keep the population well over time.
At East Jefferson General Hospital (EJGH) we took the commitment to exclusive breastfeeding a step further to become a baby-friendly hospital. Earning our baby-friendly designation was a rigorous 2-year process that challenged EJGH maternity staff to collaborate and implement innovative ideas for educating staff and patients about breastfeeding. Here’s what we learned along the way that might help you as your hospital pursues baby-friendly status.