According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more new mothers are encouraged to breastfeed in U.S. hospitals as the number of programs supporting the healthy habit nearly doubled in six years.
The CDC noted that more U.S. hospitals now provide new moms with the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a series of guidelines that support breastfeeding. Public health officials reported that the use of the guidelines among new mothers leaped from nearly 30 percent in 2007 to 54 percent in 2013.
Researchers also noted that the hospital staff interaction with a new mother shortly after the birth is crucial to whether she would start breastfeeding her newborn or not. How staffers tend the mother in those critical hours or days also influences for how long the woman will breastfeed her child.
“Breastfeeding is important and it’s good for an infant’s health and for a mother’s health,”
said Dr. Tom Frieden, the head of CDC.
But he added that despite the finding that more new mothers are encouraged to breastfeed in U.S. hospitals, more progress needs to be done. CDC researchers said that only 14 percent of newborns are born in ‘baby-friendly’ health facilities. In the U.S., about four million babies are born every year.
According to the “Ten Steps” guidelines, hospitals need to train their staffers to help mothers breastfeed their children. Breastfeeding is highly encouraged within the first hour after birth, and new moms should be trained on how to properly do it.
The guidelines also urge medical workers to teach new mother on how to maintain lactation even when they are separated from their new born. Hospital staff should only give newborns maternal milk, unless the pediatrician says otherwise.
Mothers should not be separated from their infants within the first 24 hours after birth. They should also be trained not to give pacifiers or artificial nipples to their kids and breastfeed them on demand.
Mothers should also be encouraged to attend breastfeeding support groups before leaving the clinic. About 90 percent of U.S. hospitals apply 20 percent of the “Ten Steps” recommendations.
The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that new moms provide their babies only with breast milk within the first six months of life. Plus they should keep breastfeeding them for at least a year.
New studies suggest that breastfeeding within the first day or even hour after birth is essential to the baby’s health. Newborns that weren’t breast fed during those critical hours had a higher risk of diabetes, obesity, asthma, and even sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). They were also more prone to illenesses and needed more visits to the doctor, medicines, and hospitalizations.
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