It's official. Missouri has it's first 'Baby-Friendly Hospital' a designation assigned by the World Health Organization for hospitals that meet it's 10 criteria for supporting lactation. The hospital is in Hannibal MO (yes, that town of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn fame). I will be traveling there tomorrow for the day (about 3 hours from KC) to be a part of the celebration planned to recognize this momentous occasion. I'm so excited. A barrier has been broken. Neither state of Kansas or Missouri had a baby friendly hospital (or a mother friendly one either- a designation from CIMS (Coalition to Improve Maternity Services) for natural birth support). It was often a topic of discussion when attending my Kansas or Missouri breastfeeding committee meetings, and Kansas City breastfeeding committee meetings. It will be nice to be surrounded by my bi- state-wide breastfeeding advocates to celebrate this occasion, and to brainstorm ways to make it happen closer to home.
The hospital in Hannibal has successfully completed these 10 steps:
The Ten Steps To Successful BreastfeedingThe BFHI promotes, protects, and supports breastfeeding through The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding for Hospitals, as outlined by UNICEF/WHO. The steps for the United States are:
1 - Maintain a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
2 - Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
3 - Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
4 - Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
5 - Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
6 - Give infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated.
7 - Practice “rooming in”-- allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
8 - Encourage unrestricted breastfeeding.
9 - Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
10 - Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic
PS: For American hospitals number 6 is the bug-a-boo. Most hospitals are absolutely dependent on the free formula they recieve from formula companies, and the free diaper bags full of free formula given to patients. Most hospitals can't see giving this up to qualify for the designation. Of course, the short-sightedness of this view of things is, if you truly support and maintain lactation, you won't need the free formula.