Baby Friendly Hospitals

newborn and mother hospital

It’s 2:00 A.M. and I get a call from one of my patients, a new mom who delivered her baby after an extremely long and difficult labor.

“Would you mind taking the baby for a few hours so I could get some sleep?” she asks.

I willingly take her baby out to the nurses’ station, lining up his bassinette next to the other late-night baby visitors and popping in his pacifier when he starts to fuss.

It’s not an uncommon scene on the labor and delivery unit of our small hospital. But it may soon be an obsolete one.

Welcome to Baby-Friendly USA, a new initiative to promote mother-baby bonding and encourage breastfeeding. According to the website, the practices of baby-friendly hospitals lead to 13x higher rates of successful breastfeeding than regular hospitals.

Hospitals that want to sport the “Baby-Friendly Badge” must follow certain criteria, including: 

  • Help mothers breastfeed within one hour of birth
  • No formula or other nutrition unless medically necessary
  • Practice “rooming in,” with mothers and babies staying together 24/7
  • Do not offer pacifiers or artificial nipples.

While some fear the thought that “baby-friendly” doesn’t always translate into “mom-friendly,” parents that choose baby-friendly hospitals report positive experiences.

“It was so nice to be there every step of the way with my baby,” says Sharee Jones Lincoln. “It was a wonderful experience because their main concern was for the best possible care for baby and me. All of the initial assessments were done while my baby was on my chest. Those are the sweetest moments in life and I'm glad I experienced them with my baby either in my arms or only an arm’s length away instead of in the nursery with a nurse.”

Currently, there are just over 150 hospitals in the nation that are “Baby-Friendly” qualified. Find out if there’s one near you here

So what do you think – would you choose to deliver at a ‘baby-friendly' hospital?

Image via Chaunie Brusie

 

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What do you think?

Baby Friendly Hospitals

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

Tell us what you think!

8 comments

  1. mamaduke says:

    My son was born at a baby friendly hospital, and it was a great experience. He roomed in with me for most of the time, only visiting the nursery for a couple hours one night since my husband gave me a break to sleep and was also ready to sleep (on the couch in my hospital room). The nurses were great – very supportive in helping me breastfeed (as soon as I could, after the first hour since I had to get stitched up for tears) and get my son to an appropriate weight so that we’d get discharged in time to be home for the holiday. But no pacifiers, as we didn’t prefer them, and the only artificial nipple he had was the little formula he had that we used to beef up his weight for the final weight check (which was the advice of our lactation consultants). The environment and experience just made sense for me.

  2. Kimberly says:

    We were in a hospital that wasn’t labeled baby friendly but they kept Ella with us after the did all of her checks and everything she was born very small at 4 pounds so they kept her an extra hour to monitor her breathing and stuff just to make sure she was functioning properly but otherwise they never took her without first telling us and they helped me through breast feeding but since she was so small I had to supplement her and they helped us with that as well. They were very nice and asked us what we wanted every step of the way.

  3. Jaime says:

    "Hospitals that want to sport the “Baby-Friendly Badge” must follow certain criteria, including:
    Help mothers breastfeed within one hour of birth
    No formula or other nutrition unless medically necessary
    Practice “rooming in,” with mothers and babies staying together 24/7
    Do not offer pacifiers or artificial nipples"

    What about the mothers that choose not to breastfeed? If this is the only type of hospital in the area are they going to be forced to breastfeed? If they want to use formula, and it doesn’t fall under the "medically necessary" guideline will they be denied? This section of the guidelines worries me, because it seems to force breastfeeding as the ONLY option. While I support breastfeeding as an option, and one that if chosen should be supported by trained hospital staff….it is not the only one. A woman’s right to not breastfeed shouldn’t be trampled on.

  4. Jaime says:

    "Hospitals that want to sport the “Baby-Friendly Badge” must follow certain criteria, including:
    Help mothers breastfeed within one hour of birth
    No formula or other nutrition unless medically necessary
    Practice “rooming in,” with mothers and babies staying together 24/7
    Do not offer pacifiers or artificial nipples"

    What about the mothers that choose not to breastfeed? If this is the only type of hospital in the area are they going to be forced to breastfeed? If they want to use formula, and it doesn’t fall under the "medically necessary" guideline will they be denied? This section of the guidelines worries me, because it seems to force breastfeeding as the ONLY option. While I support breastfeeding as an option, and one that if chosen should be supported by trained hospital staff….it is not the only one. A woman’s right to not breastfeed shouldn’t be trampled on.

  5. ashley says:

    My son was born at a Baby Friendly Hospital, CMMC in Maine, and we LOVED it. The nurses were wonderful and attentive. They did everything they could to help me with breastfeeding. If I ever have a second child, will will be going there again hands down!

  6. Amanda says:

    The hospital I had my BG at encouraged breastfeeding wouldn’t give a pacifier unless mom said it was ok and would gladly take the baby to the nursery. Granted one night they kept having to bring her back as there was only one nurse left at the desk and she needed to be able to leave quickly if needed. IE they wouldn’t leave the babies alone in the nursery. The big issue I had was my last night there (had her on the weekend) she kept rutting and wanting to suck every hour they brought her in, she wasn’t nursing and I wasn’t getting any sleep. By the time the nurse listened to me and gave her the pacifier I told them they could give her I got about another 2 hours of sleep, then the doc comes in to clear me to leave I glared at him and told him he could wait a few hours since the room would have to be cleaned anyway and he told me to get use to lack of sleep. I shook my head and told him well our car isnt here you’ll have to give us a bit of time before we are ready anyway. he left I went back to sleep. Other wise they were helpful, and Baby-Friendly. Not overly pushy on the have to bond with the baby aspect since well they get this gives mom a chance to sleep too.

  7. Jynger says:

    Where I do see this would be nice to some babies…..My son was premature and was unable to even eat until he was 8 days old. The nurses told me I had to give him a binkey (I was against it) because he wouldn’t remember how to suck without it.

  8. megan says:

    I gave birth in a "Baby-Friendly Hospital." The nurse came in the middle of the night and offered to take my son for a little while to let me rest. I asked her about glucose water and formula. She told me that if I did not want her to she would not and would bring him back to me for nursing. An hour later, she brought him back wanting to nurse, she took him back to the nursery – at my request. Baby-Friendly means that they do not prevent you from being together and that they do nothing to prevent successful breast feeding. It does not mean that you cannot recover and are forced to do anything with your child.

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