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N.C. Division of Public Health Launches Breastfeeding-Friendly Designation

For Release: Immediate     Date: October 28, 2010
Contact: Julie Henry, (919) 707-5053

RALEIGH - State Health Director Jeff Engel has announced the launch of the North Carolina Maternity Center Breastfeeding-Friendly Designation. This initiative recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that adopt the selected policies and practices from the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding that support the initiation, exclusivity and continuation of breastfeeding.

The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding as defined by the World Health Organization are:

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed, and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.
  6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice rooming in - allow mothers and infants to remain together - 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no artificial teats (also called bottle nipples) or pacifiers to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

The North Carolina Maternity Center Breastfeeding-Friendly Designation is endorsed by the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force and the North Carolina Hospital Association (NCHA). The designation is completely voluntary and there is no cost for applying.

”Hospital staff play an important role in teaching new mothers how to breastfeed their babies,” Bill Pully, NCHA President. “The hospital association recognizes that hospitals have a responsibility to provide new mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding."

North Carolinians and their organizations, government and businesses are encouraged to recognize breastfeeding’s benefits to mothers and babies in each community by promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding in North Carolina. A series of informational webinars will be offered to maternity center administrators on December 2 and 3, 2010. For more information about the initiative and to sign up for the webinar visit: http://www.nutritionnc.com.