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Pediatrics. 2001 Sep;108(3):677-81.

Baby-friendly hospital initiative improves breastfeeding initiation rates in a US hospital setting.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, USA.



Breastfeeding initiation rates were compared at Boston Medical Center before (1995), during (1998), and after (1999) Baby-Friendly policies were in place. Boston Medical Center, an inner-city teaching hospital that provides care primarily to poor, minority, and immigrant families, achieved Baby-Friendly status in 1999.


Two hundred complete medical records, randomly selected by a computer, were reviewed from each of 3 years: 1995, 1998, and 1999. Infants were excluded for medical records missing feeding data, human immunodeficiency virus-positive parent, neonatal intensive care unit admission, maternal substance abuse, adoption, incarceration, or hepatitis C-positive mother. All infant feedings during the hospital postpartum stay were tallied, and each infant was categorized into 1 of 4 groups: exclusive breast milk, mostly breast milk, mostly formula, and exclusive formula.


Maternal and infant demographics for all 3 years were comparable. The breastfeeding initiation rate increased from 58% (1995) to 77.5% (1998) to 86.5% (1999). Infants exclusively breastfed increased from 5.5% (1995) to 28.5% (1998) to 33.5% (1999). Initiation rates increased among US-born black mothers in this population from 34% (1995) to 64% (1998) to 74% (1999).


Full implementation of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding leading to Baby-Friendly designation is an effective strategy to increase breastfeeding initiation rates in the US hospital setting.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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