Erlanger Baroness Campus has been selected to participate in Best Fed Beginnings, a first-of-its-kind national effort to significantly improve breastfeeding rates in regions where rates are currently at their lowest.
Although breastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive health measures for infants and mothers, half of American babies are given formula within the first week, and by 9 months, only 31% of babies are breastfeeding at all.
There are multiple health benefits for both infants and mothers. For infants, it decreases the incidence and severity of many infectious diseases, reduces infant mortality and optimally supports neurodevelopment. It also decreases infants’ risk of becoming obese later in childhood. For mothers, breastfeeding decreases the risks of breast and ovarian cancers, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease.
Best Fed Beginnings seeks to reverse trends by dramatically increasing the number of hospitals in the United States that implement a proven model for maternity services and better support a new mother’s choice to breastfeed.
The National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality is leading the effort through a cooperative funding agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will be working closely with Baby-Friendly USA, Inc.
Erlanger Baroness Campus and Baptist Hospital in Nashville are the only two hospitals selected from Tennessee to participate in the Best Fed Beginnings movement.
“We are delighted to be chosen to participate in this important effort and to have the opportunity to improve our maternity care services to better support breastfeeding,” said registered lactation consultant for Erlanger Baroness Campus, Cindy Nash, RN, BSN, IBCLC.
Eighty-eight other hospitals in the United States are also participating in this initiative. The facilities will work together using proven quality improvement methods to transform their maternity care services in pursuit of “Baby-Friendly” designation. This designation verifies that a hospital has comprehensively implemented the American Academy of Pediatrics’ “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.” Reports show breastfeeding rates are significantly higher and disparities in these rates are virtually eliminated in hospitals that achieve this status.
“A Baby-Friendly Hospital takes special steps to create the best possible environment for successful breastfeeding enabling Erlanger to be the desirable choice to have a baby,” added Ms. Nash. “This is a prestigious status that is currently awarded to 143 other hospitals in the United States.”
“We look forward to working with Erlanger’s Baroness Campus and congratulate them on their successful application,” said Charlie Homer, MD, MPH, president and CEO of the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality. “The large number of applications we received affirms the commitment of hospitals across our country to be part of a health care system that truly focuses on promoting health for women and infants.”