Wednesday, March 31, 2010

NYC Hospitals Aim to Become Baby Friendly

Eleven hospitals in New York City are currently working towards becoming certified “Baby Friendly” by the World Health Organization & UNICEF. The hospitals, which are a part of NYC’s Health & Hospitals Corporation, are also specifically targeting African-American moms who make up one third of their clientele. If these hospitals become Baby Friendly, it will have a huge impact on the number of black women who initiate breastfeeding in the hospital.

According to a recent article on WeNews, the city’s health department is providing funding for public hospitals to launch this initiative and hire a breastfeeding coordinator at each hospital. This is seriously a HUGE deal and a fantastic step towards breaking down one of the biggest barriers to breastfeeding, free formula and swag bags from the hospital. If NYC pulls this off, they have the potential to become the first major metropolitan area to reverse the trend of low breastfeeding rates for black women.

Trish MacEnroe, Director of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative in the US, told WeNews, “New York will bust the myth that going Baby Friendly is an impossible task. If you can go Baby Friendly in New York, with different races, languages and cultures, and with hospitals being fiscally challenged, that sends a powerful message to all hospitals that breastfeeding is an achievement you can reach."

There are currently only a paltry 86 hospitals in the entire country that can boast that they are Baby Friendly. Hopefully soon there will be 11 more.

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