UAB Hospital is celebrating World Breastfeeding Week Aug 1-7, 2013, by launching its new Nurturing Mothers breastfeeding support group, part of its Best Fed Beginnings program and a step in being recognized internationally as a Baby-Friendly Hospital by Baby Friendly USA, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund.
The launch of the group dovetails with the theme of World Breastfeeding Week, “Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers,” which is designed to create awareness of the important role peer counseling programs play to increase breastfeeding and improve the health and development of children, as well as the health of mothers.
“Many mothers give up breastfeeding exclusively, or stop breastfeeding completely, in the first six weeks after delivery, even if they delivered in a Baby-Friendly Hospital,” said Sylvia Edwards, advanced nursing coordinator for lactation services. “This is a time when mothers are most vulnerable in continuing to successfully breast feed their baby, so community support is vital. That is where our support group comes in and why it is so important.”
|UAB is the only hospital in Central and North Alabama, as well as one of three in the state, selected to participate in Best Fed Beginnings, a national effort to significantly improve breast-feeding rates in states in which they are the lowest.|
Although breast-feeding is one of the most effective preventive health measures for infants and mothers, half of babies born in the United States are given formula within the first weeks, Edwards added.
According to the 2012 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Breastfeeding Report Card”, the rate for breast-feeding newborns in the United Sates was 76.9 percent; Alabama’s was 57.2 percent. Fewer than 25 percent of babies in Alabama are breast-fed at six months. Only 8 percent continue breast-feeding at one year, compared with 29.7 percent nationwide. Alabama is ahead of only Louisiana, Mississippi and West Virginia in breast-feeding rates.
UAB is the only hospital in Central and North Alabama, as well as one of three in the state, selected to participate in Best Fed Beginnings, a national effort to significantly improve breast-feeding rates in states in which they are the lowest.