Jersey Shore University Medical Center has received an international designation as a Baby-Friendly hospital. Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, this award recognizes facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies. Jersey Shore is one of only 149 hospitals in the United States and four in New Jersey to achieve this designation.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative fosters a culture of support for breastfeeding mothers in hospitals, as breastfeeding has proven short term and long term benefits for both mother and baby. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has documented the many benefits of breastfeeding, including a lowered risk of ear and respiratory infections, atopic dermatitis, type 2 diabetes, SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), and a reduction in childhood obesity. Additionally, by protecting against these and other illnesses, medical costs are lowered, as babies who are fed formula tend to require more doctor visits, hospitalizations, and prescriptions. Breastfeeding also benefits the mother, and provides increased protection against ovarian and breast cancers. A recent Yale University study showed that women who breastfed for two years or longer reduced their risk of breast cancer by 50%.
The designation was awarded after a rigorous on-site survey at the hospital demonstrated the successful implementation of the ten steps, including: educating expecting mothers about breastfeeding, helping initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth, and teaching women how to maintain lactation. Baby-Friendly also encourages breastfeeding on demand, and "rooming in" - a mother-infant bonding practice.
"Jersey Shore's physicians and nurses have worked diligently to earn the Baby-Friendly designation," says Rose St. Fleur, MD, FAAP, Pediatrician, K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital & Jersey Shore University Medical Center and Member, Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. "Since 2007, Jersey Shore's rates of mothers who exclusively breastfeed has increased from 28% to 41%. The designation reflects our commitment to creating the healthiest environment for infants and new mothers, and providing valuable information so they can make informed choices about their baby's health."
Jersey Shore President Steven G. Littleson, FACHE adds, "Breastfeeding has a profound impact on public health worldwide, and it's important for hospitals and health care practitioners to serve as breastfeeding advocates. As both a hospital president and a father, I'm proud that Jersey Shore educates new mothers about this powerful and preventive practice, and has earned the Baby-Friendly designation."
Jersey Shore University Medical Center