Hospitals which are attempting to initiate Baby-Friendly practices have received a lot of press recently. Not always does the reporter get the details right. Sometimes the headline is negative, but the story is essentially positive.
But at least people are taking notice of the movement! Here is just a sampling of what has been published recently.
Hospital Support for Breastfeeding: On the Cusp of Big Changes, Time to Step It Up
'Baby-friendly' hospitals: Moms give new measures mixed reviews
Local hospitals strive to offer a balance of maternity options
UNM Hospital receives prestigious “Baby-Friendly” designation
No Nursery, No Formula, No Pacifier: Are “baby-friendly” hospitals unfriendly to new mothers?
In the article published in Slate, the journalist quotes a study that says formula use promotes breastfeeding by relieving maternal stress. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23669513
But she neglects to address the main reason why exclusive breastfeeding is so important, the changes in the newborn gut from even limited amounts of formula. Here are just a few selected research articles related to the importance of gut flora and how it can be impacted by breastmilk or formula.
Effect of breast and formula feeding on gut microbiota shaping in newborns http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3472256/pdf/fcimb-02-00094.pdf
Effect of formula composition on the development of infant gut microbiota.
Maternal factors pre- and during delivery contribute to gut microbiota shaping in newborns. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3417649/pdf/fcimb-02-00093.pdf
Human gut microbiota: onset and shaping through life stages and perturbations. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3505007/
The long-term health effects of neonatal microbial flora
I suspect, as more and more hospitals become Baby-Friendly and institute policies that promote exclusive breastfeeding, the rhetoric will heighten even further.
Congratulations to those over 215 hospitals who have achieved Baby-Friendly Hospital designation. Lactation Education Resources is proud to have been a part in the educational preparation for designation in many of these hospitals. There are currently 250+ hospitals using the LER training.
At present, only 9.4 of the births in the US occur in Baby-Friendly hospitals. Let’s not stop until we have 100%!!