Forrest General Selected for National Effort to Increase Breastfeeding Rates in US Hospitals | Families
Forrest General has been selected to participate in Best Fed Beginnings, a first-of-its-kind national effort to significantly improve breastfeeding rates in states where rates are currently the lowest. Although breastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive health measures for infants and mothers, half of US-born babies are given formula within the first week, and by 9 months, only 31% of babies are breastfeeding at all. Best Fed Beginnings seeks to reverse these trends by dramatically increasing the number of US hospitals implementing a proven model for maternity services that better supports 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.
The hospital is recognizing National Breastfeeding Month, celebrated in August, by announcing their participation in this program. “Forrest General is delighted to have been chosen to participate in this important effort,” said Tangela Boutwell, Director of Forrest General’s Women and Children’s Services. “We are committed to helping babies get the best possible start in life, and participating in the Baby-Friendly designation process is an additional way to do that.”
Forrest General has dedicated lactation nurses who work with mothers one-on-one to help them learn about how they can give their baby the best possible nutrition through breastfeeding. They are there to help make sure mom and baby are both following the correct steps and making the process as easy and stress-free as possible. They are available for moms during their stay at Forrest General and are also available for moms through a dedicated phone line after the baby goes home.
In addition to Forrest General, 89 other hospitals are participating in this initiative and were selected from 235 applicants. The groups will work together in a 22-month learning collaborative, using proven quality improvement methods to enhance their maternity care services in pursuit of “Baby-Friendly” designation. This designation verifies that a hospital has comprehensively implemented the American Academy of Pediatrics-endorsed Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, as established in the WHO/UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.
“We look forward to working with Forrest General and congratulate them on their successful application,” said Charlie Homer, MD, MPH, president and CEO of NICHQ. “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.”
Breastfeeding has 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.
Click here for a list of the 90 hospitals selected to participate in Best Fed Beginnings.
Founded in 1999, the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality is an action-oriented organization dedicated to achieving a world in which all children receive the high-quality healthcare they need. Led by experienced pediatric healthcare professionals, NICHQ’s mission is to improve children’s health by improving the systems responsible for the delivery of children’s healthcare. For more information, visit www.nichq.org.
About Baby-Friendly USA
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother-baby bonding. The BFHI assists hospitals in giving mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies or feeding formula safely, and gives special recognition to hospitals that have done so. For more information, visit www.babyfriendlyusa.org.
For more information about Forrest General’s Women and Children’s Services or for more information on the benefits of breastfeeding, call FGH OnCall at 1-800-844-4445 or visit forrestgeneral.com. To reach one of Forrest General’s lactation nurses, call 601-288-3763 between 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. After 7 p.m., moms can call 601-288-4500 to speak to a postpartum nurse. Forrest General also offers free breastfeeding classes for expectant and new moms, as well as a breastfeeding support group. To sign up for a class or support group, call FGH OnCall at 1-800-844-4445, then press 1.