What is “baby friendly?”
In order for a hospital to be considered baby friendly, it must maintain a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff, train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy, inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding, help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth, show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants, give infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated, practice “rooming in”– allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day, encourage unrestricted breastfeeding, give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants, and foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.
It seems like this designation is most beneficial for those families planning on breastfeeding and you would be correct. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of giving birth in a baby friendly hospital.
- Baby friendly hospitals will not pressure mothers to supplement with formula unless there is a medical necessity to do so.
- Skin-to-skin is encouraged
- The staff are on the same page with your breastfeeding goals and desires
- Provide support for after discharge
- If you are not planning on breastfeeding, it may feel like it is being pushed on you.
- Formula care packets do not go home with free samples for future use.
- Pressure to breastfeed by a certain time frame or a certain amount each day can put pressure on new moms.
In the Orlando area there is only one hospital that carries the baby friendly designation and that is Florida Hospital Celebration. This hospital is already known as one of the best hospitals in the Central Florida area and this prestigious designation only serves to boosts its reputation further.
So, when you’re looking at which hospital to deliver your baby, consider the baby friendly designation and how it could affect your stay there.