The staff of Community Hospital of Anaconda is very proud to be the 39th Hospital in the U.S. and the first in Montana to earn the “Baby Friendly” designation. The overall goal is to provide excellent health care in a very caring environment. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level care for infants, mothers, and families.
The BFHI promotes, protects, and supports breastfeeding through The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding for Hospitals, as outlined by UNICEF/WHO. The steps for the United States are:
- 1 – Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
- 2 – Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
- 3 – Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- 4 – Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
- 5 – Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
- 6 – Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
- 7 – Practice “rooming in”– allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
- 8 – Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
- 9 – Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
- 10 – Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.
All hospitals designated Baby Friendly prior to 2004 must update their polices and procedures to meet the new BFHI guidelines. Currently, under the direction of Baby-Friendly USA, the Anaconda Hospital is auditing all of their policies and procedures for each of the 10 Steps. The high standards of the BFHI will continue to be met through QI process and this information is presented to our hospital Leadership team and Board of Directors.
Hospitals around the country are becoming breastfeeding friendly for a number of different reasons including; marketing purposes, ethics, and others. Anaconda decided to become breastfeeding friendly because they felt that it was the best practice for the health of the mothers and babies.
More than one million infants worldwide die every year because they are not breastfed or are given other foods too early. Millions more live in poor health, contract preventable diseases, and battle malnutrition. Although the magnitude of this death and disease is far greater in the developing world, thousands of infants in the United States suffer the ill effects sub-optimal feeding practices. A decreased risk of diarrhea, respiratory and ear infections, and allergic skin disorders are among the many benefits of breastfeeding to infants in the industrialized world.
Please visit the website at: http://www.communityhospitalofanaconda.org/getpage.php?name=baby to learn more information about the Community Hospital of Anaconda. To learn more about the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, please visit: http://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/.