Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital has become the 9th Hospital in Los Angeles County to be designated as “Baby-Friendly. ”The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The initiative encourages caregivers to give new mothers the information, confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their infants, and recognizes hospitals and birth centers giving this optimal level of care.
When babies are breastfed, both mother and baby are healthier throughout their lives. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, breastfed babies have less childhood cancer and diabetes and a lower risk of being overweight or obese in childhood and adolescence compared to formula-fed children. Women who breastfeed face decreased risks of breast and ovarian cancer, anemia, and osteoporosis. The greatest benefits are derived when babies are breastfed exclusively (breast milk is their only food) for the first six months of life.
The hospital staff worked for four years to thoroughly implement Baby-Friendly policies. According to research, hospitals that implement Baby-Friendly policies achieve higher breastfeeding rates.
Baby-Friendly designation is granted after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital was surveyed in 2011 to become the 121st hospital nationwide given the Baby-Friendly designation.