The Breast Is Best: Baby-friendly Hospitals Support Breastfeeding for Its Lasting Benefits

Woman breastfeeding babyBy Cheri Hinshelwood

World Breastfeeding Week in August is a great time to celebrate the long-term health benefits of breastfeeding — the most natural and nutritious way to sustain babies.

“Many new moms haven’t had much exposure to breastfeeding and have to learn quickly to gain confidence and an understanding of how to be successful,” said Amy Moore, MSN, RN, IBCLC, lactation consultant at Mission’s Breastfeeding Center and Boutique, who is also certified by the International Board of Certified Lactation Consultants.

Trained for Support

A mom’s choice to breastfeed is influenced by factors such as family support, her own history with infant feeding and whether providers have offered enough education. A big part of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is nurse training to support patients during the first few days after childbirth.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative ( [1] is a 10-step framework established by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. The program ensures moms are supported at key points throughout their breastfeeding journey. Hospital-wide training, family education and access to supports like lactation consultants who help with latching techniques offer a foundation for overcoming early challenges.

“Having a Baby-Friendly Hospital designation signals that Mission provides the most supportive and evidence-based environment to get babies off to the very best start nutritionally,” said Moore.

Skin-to-skin Is Best

The first hour after delivery is a critical time for babies to have their first breastfeeding experience. “Skin-to-skin contact with mom helps establish a bond when babies are quiet and most likely to seek the breast,” said Moore. “Our nursing teams know it is a critical point and support that early experience.”

Evidence suggests breast milk is the best nutrition and recommended exclusively for babies’ first six months. Studies show the health benefits for moms and babies can be long lasting.

“We sought the designation so we would be providing the best care possible for moms and babies. Having a hospital that supports families in this way is important to the health of this community,” said Moore.

Breastfeeding Benefits
• Natural and perfect nutritionfor babies
• Promotes bonding between mom and baby
• Improves baby’s immunity and decreases risk of infections
• Lowers mom’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer
• Decreases child’s chances of being overweight and obese in later childhood
• Speeds mom’s return to prepregnancy weight
• Saves money

Amy Moore, MSN, RN, IBCLC, is a lactation consultant at Mission Hospital’s Breastfeeding Center and Boutique.

Having a baby? To learn more about the maternity services at Mission Hospital, visit [2].