Supporting new moms through Best Fed Beginnings

It takes a village to raise a child, they say. That might not be literally true, but a little support can go a long way – especially when it comes to new moms and breast-feeding.

That is why University Hospitals MacDonald Women’s Hospital is proud to participate in Best Fed Beginnings. The program was designed by the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its mission is to help hospitals nationwide encourage breast-feeding among new moms.

The Best Fed Beginnings project provides support to help participants achieve Baby Friendly accreditation.

“The hospital experience really influences breast-feeding,” says Susan Lasch, MD, an OB/GYN at UH MacDonald Women’s Hospital. “This program helps breast-feeding mothers succeed because they are fully supported.”

More than 200 hospitals applied for the 22-month program. UH MacDonald Women’s Hospital is one of six hospitals in Ohio and 90 in the nation chosen to participate.

Healthier moms and babies

Breast-feeding boasts health benefits for babies and moms. Babies who are breast-fed are at much lower risk than formula-fed babies for gastrointestinal and respiratory problems and ear infections. And breast-feeding decreases women’s risk for breast cancer, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

“The Best Fed Beginnings program helps us spread the message about the importance of breastfeeding,” says Lydia Furman, MD, a pediatrician at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

Taking the right steps

Hospitals taking part in the program implement 10 specific steps that have been outlined by the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI). BFHI is an international program initiated by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Maternity facilities will be designated as “Baby Friendly” if they do not accept free milk substitutes (formula) and adopt the 10 practices that support breast-feeding.

“The hospital respects whatever feeding method moms choose,” says Dr. Furman. “But this program sets the standard that not only can we help you breast-feed, we will do everything in our power to help you succeed.”

Susan LaschSusan Lasch, MD
OB/GYN UH MacDonald Women’s Hospital
Assistant Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Lydia FurmanLydia Furman, MD
Pediatrician, UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital
Associate Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

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