Alton Memorial Hospital is taking steps to become a designated Baby-Friendly Hospital.
WOOD RIVER — We Choose Health is a multi-year Illinois Department of Public Health initiative funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Community Transformation Grants to encourage and support the implementation of proactive health programs that fall under three categories: Healthy Eating and Active Living; Smoke-Free Living; and Healthy and Safe Built Environments.
Madison County Health Department was awarded one of 21 statewide grants to address policy initiatives to help prevent the onset of chronic disease. Over the past two years, MCHD has partnered with five community organizations to implement six initiatives including: Coordinated School Health, Smoke Free Multi- Unit Housing, Smoke Free Public Places, Join Use Agreements, Complete Streets, and Baby Friendly Hospitals.
Part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle includes getting proper nutrition and exercise. Breastfeeding is one of the best things mothers can do for the health of their babies. Breastfeeding can offer benefits to both the mother and the baby. Under the Healthy Eating and Active Living Category of We Choose Health, the Baby-Friendly Hospitals Initiative seeks to assist hospitals in giving mothers the information, confidence and skills to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding. This initiative provides support and technical assistance to hospitals that implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes.
We Choose Health has funded and supported hospitals and birthing centers throughout Illinois to achieve the Baby-Friendly Hospital designation. To be designated, hospitals and birthing centers must follow the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, including: having a written policy, training all staff, informing all pregnant women about the benefits, helping mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth, showing mothers how to breastfeed and maintain lactation, only give infants breast-milk, allowing mothers and infants to remain together for 24 hours a day, encouraging breastfeeding on demand, not allowing pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants, and establishing breastfeeding support groups. Illinois Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics has provided technical assistance to hospitals through their process to seek the Baby-Friendly Hospital designation.
Alton Memorial Hospital has been at the forefront in Madison County and has begun their journey to become a designated Baby-Friendly Hospital.
“We have partnered with WIC as well as area pediatrician Dr. Hill to help us achieve our goals,” said Lori Fassler, an OB Nurse Clinician at Alton Memorial Hospital Family Birth Center.
Alton Memorial Hospital Family Birth Center is into their second year of the process toward the designation.
For information on the Baby-Friendly Hospitals initiative, visit www.babyfriendlyusa.org and www.idph.state.il.us/wechoosehealth.