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CDC: Hospitals Impede Breastfeeding

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 4, 2011

CDC recommended that hospitals providing maternity care adopt evidence-based practices to support breastfeeding. “Because nearly all births in the United States occur in hospitals, improvements in hospital policies and practices could increase rates of exclusive and continued breastfeeding nationwide, contributing to improved child health, including lower rates of obesity,” the CDC report said.

The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding include:

  1. Existence of a model breastfeeding policy;
  2. Staff competency assessment;
  3. Prenatal breastfeeding education;
  4. Early initiation of breastfeeding;
  5. Teaching breastfeeding techniques;
  6. Limited supplementation of breastfeeding infants;
  7. Rooming-in;
  8. Teaching feeding cues;
  9. Limited use of pacifiers;
  10. Post-discharge support.

The majority of hospitals were implementing three to five recommended practices (60.5% in 2007 and 54.3% in 2009), with only 2.4% of hospitals implementing at least nine recommended practices in 2007, and 3.5% in 2009.

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