The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded nearly $6 million over three years to the National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality to help hospitals nationwide make quality improvements to maternity care to better support mothers and babies to be able to breastfeed. The goal of the project is to accelerate the number of U.S. Baby-Friendly hospitals.
This project will address the need to improve hospital practices to support breastfeeding by helping hospitals move toward Baby-Friendly status. The core of the Baby-Friendly Initiative are the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a bundle of science-based practices established by the World Health Organization and UNICEF as global criteria to improve breastfeeding rates. These criteria are endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
"We know that breastfeeding rates are higher in Baby-Friendly hospitals, yet only 5 percent of babies in this country are born in these facilities," said William H. Dietz, MD, Ph.D., director of CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity. "We need to help hospitals improve their maternity care to better support breastfeeding. This project takes steps to do that, and it offers real solutions to improve the health of mothers and babies."