Report: Hospitals Should Recommend Exclusive Breast-feeding
California hospitals need to encourage more new mothers to exclusively breast-feed, which has been shown to help prevent childhood obesity, according to a report released Monday by the California Women, Infants and Children Association and the University of California-Davis, the Oakland Tribune reports.
The study examined 2004 newborn screening data from the Department of Health Services to determine whether infants received only breast milk, only formula, a mix of both or another food source. Hospitals were included in the study if at least 20 infants of at least three ethnicities were born there (Vesely, Oakland Tribune, 8/7).
Eight counties in California were not included in the survey because hospitals did not have sufficient births (Fontana, Fresno Bee, 8/8).
According to the report, 83% of California mothers breast-feed their infants, with about 40% breast-feeding exclusively upon discharge from the hospital (Arnquist, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 8/8). The report notes that rates of exclusive breast-feeding have remained about the same for the past 10 years although overall rates of breast-feeding have increased.
Most major medical associations recommend that mothers exclusively breast-feed for the first six months.
Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae ranked first in the state in encouraging new mothers to exclusively breast-feed during the first few days after giving birth. Most of the low-ranking hospitals are in Southern California, according to the Oakland Tribune.
The top-ranking hospitals in the study have implemented World Health Organization recommendations for successful breast-feeding, including helping mothers feed their infants within one hour of birth and allowing mothers and newborns to remain together with staff support (Oakland Tribune, 8/7).