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Most U.S. hospitals fail to support breastfeeding: report

08-03-2011 10:07 BJT

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- Breastfeeding protects against childhood obesity, but less than 4 percent of U.S. hospitals provide the full range of support mothers need for breastfeeding, according to a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday.

Improving rates of breastfeeding by providing better hospital support to mothers and babies is an important strategy to improve children's health, including a reduced risk of childhood obesity, the monthly Vital Signs report said.

"Hospitals play a vital role in supporting a mother to be able to breastfeed," it said.

"Those first few hours and days that a mom and her baby spend learning to breastfeed are critical. Hospitals need to better support breastfeeding, as this is one of the most important things a mother can do for her newborn. Breastfeeding helps babies grow up healthy and reduces health care costs," it added.

The report found only 14 percent of hospitals have a written and model breastfeeding policy.

It also found in nearly 80 percent of hospitals, healthy breastfeeding infants are given formula when it is not medically necessary, a practice that makes it much harder for mothers and babies to learn how to breastfeed and continue breastfeeding at home.

Additionally, only one-third of hospitals practise rooming in, which helps mothers and babies learn to breastfeed by allowing frequent chances to breastfeed.

Finally, the report found in nearly 75 percent of hospitals, mothers and babies don't get the support they need when they leave hospitals, including a follow-up visit, a phone call from hospital staff and referrals to lactation consultants, and other important support systems in their communities.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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