University of Minnesota Medical Center and University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital were the first facilities in the Twin Cities to be designated as Baby-Friendly by Baby-Friendly USA. The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) established the Baby-Friendly Hospital initiative as a way of recognizing hospitals and birthing centers that take specific steps to support breastfeeding.
“Studies show that if a baby has a good start to breastfeeding while in the hospital, the success rate for exclusive breastfeeding increases dramatically,” said Deb DeMarais, MD, a physician executive for University of Minnesota Health mothers and children's services. “We are dedicated to helping mothers feel confident in breastfeeding as they leave the hospital.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for roughly the first six months of life and continued breastfeeding for at least the first year as solid foods are introduced.
Facilities designated as Baby-Friendly by WHO must adhere to the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, which were developed by a team of global experts as evidence-based practices that increase breastfeeding initiation and duration.
“We are dedicated to helping mothers feel confident in breastfeeding,” DeMarais said. “Our goal is to create an optimal environment for breastfeeding during a mom and infant’s short stay in the hospital after delivery.”
World Breastfeeding Week is observed on August 1 – 7.