The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just released a new study called Maternity Care Policies and Practices That Support Breastfeeding. Although most hospitals surveyed in the study reported tremendous advancement in providing breastfeeding support to new moms, more progress is needed.
Here are 5 ways, documented from this study, that hospitals should utilize to help breastfeeding moms:
1. Limit non-breastfeeding milk.
Even when moms don't ask for it, over 73 percent of U.S. hospitals are still giving healthy babies non-breast milk like formula, glucose water or water. This might frustrate moms who want to breastfeed immediately, which they should.
2. Offer professional support during post-discharge.
Over 67 percent of hospitals do not provide any breastfeeding professional support to new moms after they are discharged. Examples of professional support includes referring them to support groups or reaching out to them with any medical help.
3. Create written breastfeeding policies.
Over 73 percent of hospitals lack a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to their staff. A written policy will keep hospital procedures easier to understand for the staff and moms.
4. Practice rooming-in.
It is good practice to allow mothers and healthy newborns to remain together 23 hours per day when they are in the hospital. Over 55 percent of U.S. hospitals do not practice rooming-in.
5. Add Additional training.
60 percent of U.S. hospitals provide adequate training to ensure that all nurses are are assessed for competency in basic breastfeeding management. If all hospitals were to simply add this assessment, it could make a big difference for new moms.
Cover image via iStock