HOW TO: Locate a Breastfeeding-Friendly Hospital

La Leche League, breast milk, breastfeeding support, Baby-Friendly hospital, birth center, breast is best, formula or breastmilk, breastfeeding skills, breastfeeding hospital, Breastfeeding-Friendly Hospital, baby-friendly hospital

Photo © Flickr user cpopp77

You may think that every hospital supports nursing mamas and breastfed babies, but that’s far from true. In reality, many hospitals still hand out formula to new mamas, but fail to provide ample breastfeeding support. There are hospitals that only have a few, if any, lactation consultants available 24/7. There are even hospitals where the staff push pacifiers or bottles over breastfeeding. With this in mind, if you’re planning on having your baby at a hospital, and you also want to breastfeed, it’s smart to choose a hospital that truly supports breastfeeding. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is one tool that can help you find a breastfeeding-friendly hospital. Keep reading to learn more about this program.

La Leche League, breast milk, breastfeeding support, Baby-Friendly hospital, birth center, breast is best, formula or breastmilk, breastfeeding skills, breastfeeding hospital, Breastfeeding-Friendly Hospital, US Baby-Friendly Birth Facilities (as of Jan 2011)

Map via Baby-Friendly USA

BFHI is a global program that aims to encourage and recognize hospitals that do support breastfeeding families. BFHI, sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), helps hospitals provide mothers (and families) with the information and skills needed to successfully initiate breastfeeding. The program also recognizes that some families will formula feed, so there’s a how-to safely feed formula component in the program as well.

Sadly, as of January 27, 2011, only 105 U.S. hospitals and birth centers have been designated as Baby-Friendly. That’s extremely shabby, especially when you consider that more than 19,000 global maternity facilities, in other countries around the world are designated as Baby-Friendly. 105 here in the U.S. vs. 19,000 elsewhere – the United States falls woefully behind when it comes to breastfeeding support.

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2 Responses to “HOW TO: Locate a Breastfeeding-Friendly Hospital”

  1. jenny8675 says:

    Great information, but I don’t appreciate that the hospitals have to pay several thousands of dollars each year to be recognized as a Baby-Friendly hospital. I had all three of my children at Hillcrest Hospital in Cleveland, OH and they were VERY helpful. They encouraged me to breastfeed, they were available at every push of the call button and I can call them any time I need additional assistance since the birth of my child. Please take the time to research the closest hospital that delivers babies, take a tour and talk to staff!

  2. emilykd says:

    Prentice Women’s Hospital in Downtown Chicago was EXTREMELY baby-friendly in regards to my breastfeeding success. I had determination to breastfeed- but no skill, understanding or even social support. Every nurse helped me, physically guiding me on my clumsy attempts to latch my daughter on. And there was a licensed lactation consultant on staff full time who helped me with a inverted nipple issue. I breastfed my daughter exclusively until she was 10 months old (when I decided enough was enough, I wanted my boobs back!). This hospital should be added to the list. A GREAT place to have a baby :)

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