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Doctors Hospital Helps To Increase Breastfeeding Rates

June 27, 2012

Augusta, GA – Doctors Hospital has been selected to participate in Best Fed Beginnings, a first-of-its-kind national effort to significantly improve breastfeeding rates in states where rates are currently the lowest.   

“We are thrilled to have been chosen to participate in this important effort,” says Karen Swim, Chief Nursing Officer at Doctors Hospital.  “This gives us the opportunity to improve our maternity care services to better support breastfeeding.”

Although breastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive health measures for infants and mothers, half of US-born babies are given formula within the first week, and by 9 months, only 31% of babies are breastfeeding at all.  Best Fed Beginnings seeks to reverse these trends by dramatically increasing the number of US hospitals implementing a proven model for maternity services that better supports a new mother’s choice to breastfeed. The National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) is leading the effort through a cooperative funding agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and will be working closely with Baby-Friendly USA, Inc.

“We recognize that for women who plan to breastfeed, the hospital experience strongly influences a mother’s ability to start and continue breastfeeding,” says Annette Repko, Director of Women’s Services at Doctors Hospital.  “We are committed to implementing evidence-based care through the Baby-Friendly designation process.  This will ensure that mothers delivering in our facility who intend to breastfeed are fully supported.”

In addition to Doctors Hospital, 89 other hospitals are participating in this initiative and were selected from 235 applicants.  The groups will work together in a 22 month learning collaborative, using proven quality improvement methods to transform their maternity care services in pursuit of “Baby-Friendly” designation. This designation verifies that a hospital has comprehensively implemented the American Academy of Pediatrics-endorsed Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, as established in the WHO/UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.  Breastfeeding rates are higher and disparities in these rates are virtually eliminated in hospitals that achieve this status.

“We always educate our mothers on the multiple health benefits that breastfeeding has,” says Sally Wood, Lactation Consultant at Doctors Hospital.  “Being chosen to participate in this initiative and working towards becoming a “Baby-Friendly” hospital only reinforces what we have been practicing at Doctors Hospital.

Benefits of breastfeeding:  

Infants –

  • Decreases the incidence and severity of many infectious diseases
  • Reduces infant mortality
  • Supports neurodevelopment
  • Decreases infant’s risk of becoming obese later in childhood

Mothers –

  • Decreases risks of breast and ovarian cancers, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular diseases

Click here for a list of the 90 hospitals selected to participate in Best Fed Beginnings.

Interview Opportunities: 

Karen Swim, Chief Nursing Officer at Doctors Hospital

Annette Repko, Director of Women’s Services at Doctors Hospital

Sally Wood, Lactation Consultant at Doctors Hospital