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Times and Lives are Changing

bannerfor eastalbsTimes and Lives are Changing

It’s August again and we are approaching World Breastfeeding Week and our National Breastfeeding Month has begun.

Today was our local Big Latch On we had 9 latches many more moms and kids. Our local online support group has over 900 members with many active participants. We have a group of women that have taken a course and become breastfeeding councilors, as part of our hospital working with a grant from NICHQ to become Baby-Friendly. We have around 3 breastfeeding support groups throughout the community, and we will be adding one more to support the valley area by the end if the month. 3 years ago there was no were near this amount of support. Some of the medical personnel in the area is being dragged kicking and screaming but now there is enough strangth to drag them!

This village is coming together around its mothers and babies and I am so proud to be part to this moment in history were we take control of our fears and rawr like tigers… Or trumpet if you choose.


Baby Friendly Hospitals Initiative

Breastfeeding symbolHave you heard of the Baby Friendly Hospitals Initiative (BFHI)? BFHI was started by The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF in 1991 following the adoption of the Innocenti Declaration on breastfeeding promotion in 1990. The initiative’s goal is to improve the role of maternity services to enable mothers to breastfeed babies for the best start in life. It aims at improving the care of pregnant women, mothers and newborns at health facilities that provide maternity services for protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding, in accordance with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.

With all that said here’s what I have been getting to…

It is a rare exception when a woman cannot breastfeed her baby for physical or medical reasons. The biggest problem in our society is that  most woman do not feel confident andor secure with the decision to breastfeed or to continue to breastfeed. Many times being challenged by her family and friends, the media, and health care providers. This is so evident in the south. Take Alabama only 56.7% of babies were ever breastfed and only 8% of babies in Alabama are still breastfed at 12 months. Compare this with California where 86.6% of babies were breastfed and 25.7% were still breastfeeding at 12 month. 

In the past few years support for  breastfeeding has grown in the south and across the nation, but here in the south most still think that it is something for only the first few weeks, or worse not important. They don’t understand that letting others give bottles lowers their milk supplies and end up formula feeding not sure why their milk “dried up”. I have worked hard to breastfed my Son after failing breastfeeding my daughter by 5 months. I believe I failed because I didn’t have the knowledge or support I needed at the time. I made a pact with myself when I found that I was expecting again that this time I would succeed. I believe the only reason I have is because I visit a support group weekly hosted by our local hospital, I visit many online support groups for local and national veiws, and I read books and articles on breastfeeding. 

The hospital is not the only place a mother should receive support for breastfeeding but the hospital provides the bridge between support and education provided prior to and after delivery. We should add our support by first getting out there and telling our hospitals that it is time to stop the “gift bags” that ALL woman get when leaving the hospital.  It is ours and our babies RIGHT to breastfed. We need to get our hospitals to start working to become certified as Baby-friendly. This will give more of our moms the support and confidance to say “breastfeeding is what is best for my baby and me.”

Are you with me?

The criteria for a hospital’s Baby Friendly accreditation include:

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 half-hour of birth.

5. how mothers how to breastfeed and maintain lactation, even if they should be separated from their infants.

6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, not even sips of water, unless medically indicated.

7. Practice rooming in – that is, allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.

8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.

9. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.

10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.