Native Village 
Youth and Education News
September 2013
Two More Indian Health Service Hospitals Designated as Baby-Friendly
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Breastfeeding is the safest, healthiest way to nourish babies.
Breastfeeding Benefit

Washington DC:  Two more Indian Health Service hospitals have been certified as Baby-Friendly facilities:  Claremore Indian Hospital (OK) and Phoenix Indian Medical Center (AZ). They are the first hospitals in their states to receive this prestigious designation.

This makes a total of five IHS facilities belonging to the Indian Health Service's Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. Three other Indian Health Service facilities were certified in 2012. They are the only hospitals in their respective states to be designated as Baby-Friendly: Quentin N. Burdick Memorial Health Care Facility, Pine Ridge Hospital (SD),  Rosebud Indian Hospital (SD) 

The IHS's Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative promotes breastfeeding to reduce the baby's risk of developing obesity and diabetes in the future. New mothers receive information, confidence, and skills to help them begin, and continue, breastfeeding their babies.

"We are pleased and proud that IHS hospitals are setting the standard for maternity care in so many states," said Dr. Yvette Roubideaux, acting director of the IHS.  "Our work shows how this initiative can succeed in populations that will most benefit from the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative."

Breastfeeding initiation rates at these five Baby-Friendly Hospitals are in the 90th percentile for breastfeeding. In addition, exclusive breastfeeding rates are climbing.

The Indian Health Service hopes all IHS obstetric facilities will be certified as Baby Friendly by the end of 2014.

The Baby-Friendly initiative is part of Michelle Obama's "Let's Move! in Indian Country" program.  "Let's Move" is an effort to solve childhood obesity within a generation.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is administered by the World Health Organization and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund. It is an evidence-based practice care model designed to protect and promote breastfeeding as the safest, healthiest way to nourish babies.

The initiative recognizes and awards birthing facilities that successfully implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Benefits
Indian Health Service

Breastfeeding significantly reduces risk of type 2 diabetes for both mother and infant.

Breastfeeding reduces a baby’s risk of obesity by about one third.

  Breastfed babies don’t get constipated; formula-fed babies do, possibly from the iron in the formula or the protein in cow’s milk. Breastmilk promotes the emptying of the colon with each feed. Formula or cow’s milk tends to slow gastric emptying, and the neonate or infant may not pass a stool every day.

Breastfeeding promotes uterine involution, and can help control postpartum bleeding.

Breastfeeding promotes postpartum weight loss in the mother.

Breastfed infants have fewer allergies than formula-fed infants. This is very important if the patient has a history of allergies.

  The antibodies in breast milk protect the infant from upper respiratory infections, influenza, otitis media, asthma, and eczema.

Recent research suggests that breastfeeding may help prevent juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

  Research has also shown that there is a lower incidence of SIDS among breastfed infants.

  Breastfed infants do not suffer from tooth decay as infants, which is a significant problem with bottle-fed infants.

Breastfed babies are easy to comfort at the breast.

Breastfed infants tend to have fewer speech problems than bottle-fed infants.

Breastfeeding enhances infant learning and breast milk fosters brain cell growth.

Breastfeeding promotes maternal and infant attachment. Secure attachment promotes infant mental health and enhances trust and self-confidence.

Breast milk is always available and at the right temperature.

Breastfeeding eliminates the necessity for bottles, sterilization, and formula.

  Nighttime feedings are easy. No warming of bottles in the middle of the night.

Working mothers who are breastfeeding miss fewer days of work, because their babies don’t get sick as often.

Prolactin is released during breastfeeding, promoting maternal relaxation and feelings of well-being.

  There is a lower incidence of breast cancer among breastfed infants.

  Exclusive breastfeeding suppresses ovulation and offers some protection from pregnancy for the first few months.


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