More hospitals across the U.S. support breastfeeding, according to an encouraging Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report.
The good news is that in a six-year timeframe, the percentage of hospitals across the U.S. that support breastfeeding jumped from 29 percent to 54 percent. This translates in 14 percent of the four million babies born annually in the U.S. being born in baby-friendly hospitals. There is no doubt that more work needs to be done in this direction, yet the findings of the report are encouraging.
The report is published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and describes the level of compliance of hospitals with the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding program initiated by the World Health Organization in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund.
The Ten Steps program is a collection of best practices and policies that should be implemented in U.S. hospitals in order to improve breastfeeding and thus the beneficial effects it has on both mothers and babies.
MD Tom Frieden, MPH and Director of the CDC declared:
“Breastfeeding is important and it’s good for an infant’s health and for a mother’s health. We’re seeing more progress than we thought we’d see but we do have much more progress to make”.
The benefits of breastfeeding for infants have been detailed in numerous studies. Lowering the risk of infections is among them. Respiratory infections, ear infections or even intestinal infections may be kept at bay if a newborn is breastfed. Other conditions that may be kept away simply by breastfeeding include developing obesity later in life or asthma.
Mothers also reap the benefits of breastfeeding. Besides creating a stronger bond with the child, a breastfeeding mother will lower the risk of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, heart disease or diabetes.
Moreover, breastfeeding is cost-efficient. As more hospitals across the U.S. support breastfeeding, an estimated two billion dollars could be cut out from medical budgets related to child health care annually.
According to the CDC report, in the six-year timeframe between 2007 and 2013, more states registered 60 percent or more hospital complying with at least half of the recommendations in the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding program. More precisely, the beginning of the implementation process saw only four states that could present this statistic. Now, the number increased to 21.
The fact that more hospitals across the U.S. support breastfeeding is encouraging. Nonetheless, more steps need to be taken in order to ensure the same baby-friendly environment for all newborns in the U.S.
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