Story last updated at 5/1/2013 - 2:55 pm
By Bartlett Regional Hospital
The Baby Friend Hospital Designation recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding. The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiate (BFHI) is a global initiative launched by UNICEF and the World Health Organization in 1991 to implement practices that protect, promote and support breastfeeding. By 2011, a wide range of health organizations in the USA came on-board, including the U.S. Surgeon General, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Institute of Health (NIH). Since its launching BFHI has grown, with more than 152 countries around the world implementing the initiative. The initiative has measurable and proven impact, increasing the likelihood of babies being exclusively breastfed for the first six months.
Bartlett Beginnings journey began 1993, shortly after the WHO/Unicef Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative began. We developed a Process Improvement Team that has been working towards improving breastfeeding outcomes, using the current research on practices that promote the best outcomes. Last year, the commitment to attaining the Baby Friendly Hospital Designation began officially. We are pleased to have the collaboration of monetary support from the Alaska Women's Health Program (State of Alaska's Division of Health and Social Services Department of Public Health) and the Alaska Children's Trust Fund. Both the Alaska Children's Trust and the Alaska Women's Health Program are supporting the educational component of the BFHI. All nurses providing care to new babies and mothers will receive 20 hours of continuing education on breastfeeding. Nurses have a critical role to play in promoting and supporting breastfeeding and the BFHI recognizes this. We are so very pleased and grateful for this support.
Why is this so important? Breastfeeding saves health care dollars. It saves lives. It protects against obesity, diabetes for both the child and the mother, and a host of infectious diseases and illnesses. In the USA, it is estimated that over 900 deaths could be prevented annually, and 13 billion dollars could be saved annually if 90 percent of mothers breastfed for at least 6 months. The research on the risks of not breastfeeding mounts every year. Bartlett Beginnings is committed to attaining the optimal level of care that supports, promotes and protects breastfeeding, and achieving this prestigious status. Right here in your hometown.