August 1 to 7 is World Breastfeeding Week. The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action coordinates the week which promotes and supports breastfeeding, bringing awareness to its importance. Health groups such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) support this global initiative.
“Breastfed babies have a lower risk of many health conditions, including diabetes, obesity and respiratory disorders,” says Carol Chornock, lactation consultant at Shady Grove Adventist. “Breastfeeding is also associated with health benefits for the mother such as a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer.”
Recently, Shady Grove Adventist Hospital became the first hospital in Maryland to achieve the Baby-Friendly designation through WHO and UNICEF. This international designation recognizes facilities that offer the optimal level of care for infant feeding.
Fewer than 10 percent of babies in the United States are born in a Baby-Friendly designated facility.
In order to achieve Baby-Friendly, Shady Grove Adventist implemented 10 steps, including helping mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth and practicing “rooming in,” which involves keeping mothers and infants together 24 hours a day.
Shady Grove Adventist Hospital’s support for breastfeeding has also been recognized with the International Board of Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) Care Award. The IBCLC credential is the only one globally-accepted for professional lactation services and requires a rigorous recertification process every five years. All lactation consultants in Shady Grove Adventist’s mother/baby unit are IBCLC nurses who specialize in clinical management of breastfeeding.
In addition, Shady Grove Adventist offers maternal/child care classes, including a weekly breastfeeding support group called B.E.S.T. (Breastfeeding Education, Support and Togetherness). Moms can register at www.ShadyGroveBaby.com or by calling 1-800-542-5096. Mothers can also call 240-826 –MOMS (6667) Monday through Friday during business hours with any breastfeeding questions.