The increasingly popular ‘Baby Friendly’ designation allows hospitals to showcase their commitment to sustained breastfeeding practices. Breastfeeding has numerous benefits including decreasing the risks of type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and high blood pressure in moms, and reducing the likelihood that babies develop type 1 diabetes, obesity, and SIDS, to name a few.1 The Center for Disease Control recommends exclusive breastfeeding until the age of 6 months, but this is only the case for around 25% of infants.1 In order to increase this rate and encourage mothers to breastfeed, the organization Baby Friendly USA was created. They developed the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding that birthing centers can implement within their practice to earn the title of “Baby Friendly Hospital”.
To earn accreditation, you must follow the ten steps outlined below.2
- Comply fully with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and relevant World Health Assembly resolutions.
- Have a written infant feeding policy that is routinely communicated to staff and parents.
- Establish ongoing monitoring and data-management systems.
- Ensure that staff have sufficient knowledge, competence and skills to support breastfeeding.
- Discuss the importance and management of breastfeeding with pregnant women and their families.
- Facilitate immediate and uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact and support mothers to initiate breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth.
- Support mothers to initiate and maintain breastfeeding and manage common difficulties.
- Do not provide breastfed newborns any food or fluids other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated.
- Enable mothers and their infants to remain together and to practice rooming-in 24 hours a day.
- Support mothers to recognize and respond to their infants’ cues for feeding.
- Counsel mothers on the use and risks of feeding bottles, artificial nipples (teats) and pacifiers.
- Coordinate discharge so that parents and their infants have timely access to ongoing support and care.
Many of these changes are quick to implement through education and changing staff policy. Step 10 however, is where we come in. In this step, you’re required to make sure that your patients have access to future resources within their community. For many, this is not always an option. In addition, timely ongoing support may be difficult to find, especially if the patient requires an appointment immediately. Here at SimpliFed, we offer free lactation support consultations for an initial appointment, as well as an on demand option for questions that need to be resolved quickly. Patients can also choose to set up appointments based on the timing that works best for them, in the comfort of their own home.
New guidelines regarding Step 10 state that “Each mother should be linked to lactation-support resources within the community upon discharge”3. SimpliFed is able to uniquely satisfy this request because no matter the community, we are available. Telehealth support is an innovative way to solve health crises quickly and efficiently, all while maximizing the comfort of the patient. Within these guidelines they remark that the AAP recommends a feeding evaluation for every infant within 3-5 days postpartum. SimpliFed brings lactation support to the mother in an accessible way, allowing for feeding issues to be resolved as quickly as possible, thus increasing the probability of continued breastfeeding.
To learn more about our services, click here. Our partners span the country and provide necessary services to breastfeeding parents. Currently, we are working with a hospital with a large Medicaid population to help them earn their accreditation and provide equitable and accessible services to help increase the rates of breastfeeding in this country. Are you interested in joining? Sign up today.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, February 22). Why it matters. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/about-breastfeeding/why-it-matters.html.
- Friendly USA ~ 10 steps & International Code. Baby. (2021, August 11). https://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/for-facilities/practice-guidelines/10-steps-and-international-code/.