Terrebonne General Medical Center is “Baby-Friendly”
August is National Breastfeeding Month and Louisiana has had a lot to celebrate. On August 21, Terrebonne General Medical Center (TGMC) learned that it was joining Ochsner Medical Center-Baton Rouge (OMC-BR) as one of the only two hospitals in Louisiana to achieve the prestigious Baby-Friendly hospital designation by Baby-Friendly, USA.
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. TGMC is also one of four Louisiana hospitals in the Best Fed Beginnings program, a national quality improvement collaborative to improve maternity care and help 89 hospitals achieve “Baby-Friendly” designation. The other Louisiana hospitals in this initiative are East Jefferson General Hospital, Tulane-Lakeside Hospital and Opelousas General Medical Center.
Studies show that breastfeeding leads 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.
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