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Whoopi Goldberg’s recent criticism of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s support of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a reminder that misconceptions need to be addressed.
Here are my top 10 Baby-Friendly facts.
- Baby-Friendly represents a set of maternity practices that improves breastfeeding outcomes.
- Baby-Friendly is NOT about coercing women to breastfeed.
- Baby-Friendly is about assuring women have the information they need to make an informed feeding choice.
- According to the Surgeon General, 75 percent of women start out breastfeeding. Baby-Friendly is about helping these women realize SUCCESS in their breastfeeding goals.
- The benefits of Baby-Friendly practices extend to bottle feeding families too. For example, all babies benefit from skin-to-skin contact with their parents.
- Baby-Friendly is also a call to action to improve the safety of formula feeding through enhanced education to families who choose to bottle feed.
- Baby-Friendly hospitals provide formula for families who choose to use it while in the hospital. However, a physician order is required before supplementing a breastfeeding baby’s feedings with formula.
- Successful breastfeeding is a public health issue. The benefits extend to both mothers and their babies, and breastfeeding is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics as a way to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- With our growing understanding of brain health, neuroplasticity and how the brain is “wired” from an earlier age than we ever before realized, we may even conclude that parent-infant bonding is a public health issue as well as a significant social issue. Feeding choice aside, Baby-Friendly practices facilitate bonding.
- Mayor Bloomberg is not alone in promoting the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. He is joined by the Surgeon General, The Joint Commission, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the CEOs of approximately 500 U.S. hospitals and nearly 20,000 hospitals worldwide.