A recent New York Times article discussed studies suggesting that a child’s diet during infancy has long-lasting effects on eating habits later in life. The studies showed that people develop taste preferences at a young age. If a child eats healthy foods, they will be more likely to eat those later on. The same goes for unhealthy foods such as those high in sugar or sodium.

breastfed infants are more open to new food

When it comes to breastfeeding, studies have shown that breastfed infants are more open to new food. In addition, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that breastfed children were more likely to drink water at age six rather than sugar-sweetened beverages. They were also more likely to eat fruits and vegetables.

“Breastfeeding has numerous benefits for babies, including a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome, diabetes, respiratory and ear infections, skin allergies and obesity later in life,” says Carol Chornock, RN, IBCLC, lactation coordinator at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center. “Our physicians and staff are trained and educated in helping new mothers get off to the best start for breastfeeding.”

First Hospital in Maryland

Shady Grove Adventist recently became the first hospital in Maryland to achieve the global Baby-Friendly designation through the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund. This recognizes hospitals that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding.

To achieve designation, the hospital must uphold 10 standards. This includes helping mothers start breastfeeding within one hour of birth. It also includes “rooming-in,” which allows mothers and infants to stay together 24 hours a day.

The Washington Post recently published an article about how more U.S. hospitals are adapting Baby-Friendly practices.