Health and Fitness

CDC Announces New Effort to Boost Number of Baby-Friendly Hospitals

Project aims to improve maternity care practices to support breastfeeding

Atlanta, GA–(ENEWSPF)–October 13, 2011.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded nearly $6 million over three years to the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality to help hospitals nationwide make quality improvements to maternity care to better support mothers and babies to be able to breastfeed.  The goal of the project is accelerate the number of U.S. Baby-Friendly hospitals.

This project will address the need to improve hospital practices to support breastfeeding by helping hospitals move toward Baby-Friendly status.  The core of the Baby-Friendly Initiative are the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a bundle of science-based practices established by the World Health Organization and UNICEF as global criteria to improve breastfeeding rates.  These criteria are endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“We know that breastfeeding rates are higher in Baby-Friendly hospitals, yet only 5 percent of babies in this country are born in these facilities,” said William H. Dietz, MD, Ph.D., director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity. “We need to help hospitals improve their maternity care to better support breastfeeding. This project takes steps to do that, and it offers real solutions to improve the health of mothers and babies.”

Breastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive measures a mother can take to protect the health of her infant.  A CDC report from August ( highlighted the shortage of Baby-Friendly hospitals in the United States and outlined the importance of the hospital experience regarding infant feeding decisions. 

As the award recipient, NICHQ will coordinate the following activities to increase the number of facilities in the United States designated Baby-Friendly:

  • Bring together staff throughout the hospital, including experts in breastfeeding and quality improvement, organization leadership, and other hospital workers to encourage system-level changes supportive of breastfeeding.
  • Complete a full range of activities to share best practices and lessons learned and develop evidence-based improvement plans.
  • Facilitate collaboration among facilities by enlisting experts in maternity care, breastfeeding, quality improvement, and other aspects of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.

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