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MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs. 2012 Jul-Aug;37(4):228-33, quiz 234-5. doi: 10.1097/NMC.0b013e318251054e.

Implementing baby-friendly practices: strategies for success.

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Women and Family Care at Poudre Valley Hospital, Fort Collins, CO, USA.


Breastfeeding is widely viewed as the optimal feeding method for infants among professional nursing and medical organizations. Its health benefits have been comprehensively studied and documented for both infants and mothers. Hospitals and birthing centers can strongly influence the outcomes for mothers who choose to breastfeed by establishing effective breastfeeding behaviors immediately after birth and during the hospital stay. The Baby-Friendly USA initiative outlines 10 steps to successful breastfeeding. Although these steps have been successfully supported in practice, they can be difficult to implement due to a variety of factors, including resistance to change. Specific steps generate more barriers to overcome than others--namely exclusive breastfeeding without supplementation or pacifiers, rooming-in for 23 out of 24 hours, and skin-to-skin contact with a parent immediately after birth and during the hospital stay. Our hospital spent 5 years implementing Baby-Friendly practices to prepare for a successful site visit. In the process, barriers to key Baby-Friendly steps were overcome through creative approaches and strategic education for staff, physicians, and parents. The purpose of this article is to outline specific actions taken that assisted our hospital in its successful journey. Those actions and strategies will hopefully be of value to others in their journey toward designation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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