ATLANTA, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- An effort to help U.S. hospitals better support mothers in breastfeeding their babies has been awarded $6 million from the federal government, advocates say.
The National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality said it will use the funds to accelerate hospitals gaining Baby-Friendly status by incorporating "Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding," a bundle of science-based practices established by the World Health Organization and UNICEF to improve breastfeeding rates.
"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," Dr. William H. Dietz, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, said in a statement. "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."
The National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality said among the activities it will coordinate are:
-- 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.
-- 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.