How to identify a breastfeeding friendly hospital, and why it is important.
When you're pregnant, deciding where to have your baby is a practical and personal matter, an educated and emotional choice. Asking questions and doing your own research in advance helps you make an informed decision, one you feel comfortable with and about where you want to give birth.
Few of the main things to look into while picking a breastfeeding friendly hospital is how efficient the staff is, the environment and facilities provided at the hospital, and the expertise of the doctors that are in-house as well as the ones affiliated with the hospital.
How do you know the hospital you’re about to choose is a breastfeeding friendly hospital?
A breastfeeding friendly hospital will encourage all new and pregnant moms to breastfeed their babies. After giving birth you may be assigned one trained lactation nurse to help with breastfeeding but that doesn't mean that he or she is the only trained staff on breastfeeding, in order to become a breastfeeding friendly hospital, the staffs of the hospital are required to undergo no less than 20 hours of training to help educate them on the best practices for promoting breastfeeding and bonding between baby.
It is necessary for a breastfeeding friendly hospital to educate women on why breastfeeding is the best option when it comes to feeding and also encourage moms to breastfeed their babies.
A breastfeeding friendly hospital will provide you extensive breastfeeding training on proper breast care, how to initiate breastfeeding, positioning for comfortable breastfeeding, how to help your baby latch, how to improve and maintain your milk supply/production, caring for and treating sore nipples and all the necessary information related to breastfeeding.
This education is provided through a support system such as lactation consultants during your hospital stay and outside, specialized nursing staff and other educational resources to help inform a mother about breastfeeding.
“The aim is to provide data-driven knowledge for the first few years when babies are at the peak of their developmental phase and mothers are at a crossroad. Which is like everyday!” says Chinny Obinwanne, a medical Doctor, a lactation consultant (IBCLC), founder of TheMilkbooster and TMBBabyShop and a member of Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.
Why is choosing a breastfeeding friendly hospital important?
Breastfeeding friendly hospitals are committed in supporting breastfeeding your newborns within one hour of their birth, because studies show that this helps mothers experience much more long-term breastfeeding success, that is the best time for bonding to begin with their babies. This all-important first feeding helps stabilize baby’s blood sugar and jumpstart their digestive system, and it supports the mother’s milk production
Despite their written policies, there are important points to note-Your hospital is not breastfeeding friendly if;
- They offer formula samples, without an option of establishing breastfeeding
- They give artificial teat or pacifiers (also called “dummies” or “soothers”) to breastfeeding babies.
- They give newborn infants food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
- They don't have a lactation consultant and don't talk about breastfeeding
- They don't discuss the importance and management of breastfeeding with pregnant mothers and their families.
- They don't facilitate immediate and uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact and support mothers to initiate breastfeeding within the first few hours of birth.
- They don't enable mothers and their infants to remain together and to practice rooming-in 24 hours a day.
- They don't support mothers to recognize and respond to their infants’ cues for feeding.
- They don't coordinate discharge so that parents and their infants have timely access to ongoing support and care.
Ensure that you have made your research based on your breastfeeding goals before registering at an antenatal clinic. The factors listen above would help you make a seamless decision.