Did you have your baby at a “baby friendly” hospital? I’m sure we would all love to say, of course! What kind of hospital isn’t baby friendly? Unfortunately, too many. In 1991, UNICEF and the World Health Organization launched the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative to encourage hospitals to be places of breastfeeding support. Again, one wonders why hospitals aren’t already the biggest supporters of breastfeeding?!
There are 10 specific steps that are needed to be followed to be designated Baby Friendly. The hospital also must not accept free or low-cost breast milk substitutes.
I moved to a new city three months into this pregnancy. I wanted to get a doctor and get one fast. It wasn’t until after I had been accepted as a patient that I looked into the hospital in any depth. Lucky for me, this hospital has recently been designated Baby Friendly, the first in Montreal. We had our tour of the labour ward yesterday, which they call the birthing center:) After an extensive, two hour lesson on what to expect in terms of breastfeeding in the 36 hour hospital stay (average time after a vaginal delivery), I feel very excited about their breastfeeding policies.
We are four weeks from our due date. As the nervous excitement for labour day increases, I am feeling pretty good about our chances of having a natural, non-medicated hospital birth, although this is not dictated anywhere in the baby friendly initiative. I am even more confident that I will get immediate skin to skin with my baby and a good start on my breastfeeding journey.
Did you give birth at a baby friendly hospital? What was your experience like?
Here is an excellent article about the Baby Friendly Initiative and it’s progress and role in American hospitals