The right nutrition during the first minutes, days, months and years of life is critical for proper development and delivers lifelong benefits. Research shows unequivocally that breastmilk is best for infants, so Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns is taking its support of breastfeeding to the next level by seeking certification as a Baby Friendly Hospital by Baby Friendly USA, Inc.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program designed to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding.
"Sharp Mary Birch has always been committed to supporting the best infant nutrition across the spectrum, from tiny premature babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to well babies weighing more than 10 pounds," said Mary Ann Jones, the lactation program manager at Sharp Mary Birch. "Our Infant Feeding Policy advocates exclusive breastmilk feeding as optimum for the health of the infant and mother, so this step toward becoming a Baby Friendly Hospital is a natural progression."
Part of this process is to follow the "Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding," which are evidence-based practices designed to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration. The hospital has met most of the steps, including keeping well mothers and babies together 24 hours a day, and providing extensive education to care providers.
"Exclusive breastfeeding is best, while we support whatever feeding regimen chosen by the mother and family," said Sandra Cole, lead clinical nurse in lactation at Sharp Mary Birch. "This is about offering families the right information, education and guidance so that they can make the best choice for their babies."
Sharp Mary Birch’s review and certification process toward becoming a Baby Friendly Hospital is scheduled for the spring of 2015.
For More Information
To learn more about mother and infant care at Sharp, visit Pregnancy and Childbirth. For help in finding a physician who is affiliated with Sharp Mary Birch Hospital, search for a San Diego OBGYN or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.