Ochsner Baton Rouge is “Baby-Friendly”

The Bureau of Family Health (BFH) applauds Ochsner Medical Center-Baton Rouge (OMC-BR) for becoming the first hospital in Louisiana to achieve the prestigious Baby-Friendly hospital designation by Baby-Friendly, USA. OMC-BR has worked with BFH on increasing breastfeeding rates since it became Gift designated in 2011.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program of the World Health Organization and UNICEF. This designation is awarded to hospitals worldwide who successfully implement evidence based practices that give mothers the information, confidence, and skills necessary to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

BFH recognizes the important role that hospitals and birthing facilities play in promoting breastfeeding. The Gift, a BFH program, helps Louisiana birthing facilities work towards implementation of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. Currently, 24 of 53 delivering facilities in Louisiana are Gift designated, and The Gift encourages progress toward pursuit of Baby-Friendly designation.  OMC-BR is the first Gift designated facility to achieve this prestigious designation.

Studies show that breastfeeding translates to better health for both babies and mothers, and health benefits last a lifetime. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2014 Breastfeeding Report Card, Louisiana ranks last in the nation for the percent of infants who have ever breastfed. Only 56.9% of Louisiana infants have ever been breastfed (compared to 79.2% nationally) and only 13.4% of infants in Louisiana (compared to 18.8% nationally) are exclusively breastfed for six months, which is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding:

  1. Written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in the 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 infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, 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 upon discharge.

About The Gift

Launched in 2006, Louisiana’s The Gift program has designated 24 of 53 eligible birthing facilities. It is a hospital designation program that provides resources and a framework to help birthing facilities improve breastfeeding outcomes through incremental adoption of internationally recognized evidence-based practices, the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. The Gift program encourages continued progress toward pursuit of Baby-Friendly designation. All Louisiana birthing facilities are eligible to participate in The Gift. For more information, please visit www.thegiftla.org.

Baby-Friendly, USA: http://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/about-us

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