University Hospital in Salt Lake City was recently designated "baby friendly" by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund for its efforts to promote breast-feeding.
The U. is the first hospital in Utah and the 73rd in the nation with the designation, which is more than four years in the making.
To earn the distinction, the hospital had to complete 10 steps, including writing a breast-feeding policy, training all staff to promote the benefits of breast-feeding to parents and to help mothers initiate nursing within one hour of birth. The U. must also support mothers and infants remaining together 24 hours a day while in the hospital and give no pacifiers, food or other drinks unless medically indicated.
While the U. says it supports the decision of parents to use formula, it won't include formula in its gift bags to departing mothers.
Breast-feeding is considered better for mothers and babies. It contains antibodies to protect babies from bacteria and viruses and it's been linked to lower risks of respiratory tract infections, asthma, obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes and SIDS. For mothers, breast-feeding has been tied to lower rates of type 2 diabetes, breast and ovarian cancers.
- Heather May