Memorial Hermann hospitals selected for national baby-friendly program
Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital and Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston were selected to participate in the Best Fed Beginnings national program. Best Fed Beginnings is an initiative from UNICEF and the World Health Organization designed to improve breastfeeding rates in the United States. Along with 90 other selected hospitals, both Memorial Hermann centers will go through a 22-month program for baby-friendly designation. "We are delighted to be chosen to participate in this important effort and to enhance our maternity services through the baby-friendly designation process," said Mary Hersey, Women's and Newborn's Services director at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands, in a press release. "We recognize that the hospital experience can strongly influence a mother's desire to initiate and continue breastfeeding and we are committed to ensuring that all mothers who deliver in our hospital are fully supported throughout the breastfeeding process." Both hospitals have lactation centers for full-service breastfeeding support. Participants start before the delivery process and continue through the program long after the birth. According to the release, half of babies born in the United States are given formula within the first week of birth, and only 31 percent of babies are breastfeeding by the nine-month mark. The benefits of breastfeeding include reduced mortality rates for infants and cancer risks for mothers. The Best Fed Beginnings program, in collaboration with the National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, looks to improve these numbers through increased maternity services. "We look forward to working with Memorial Hermann The Woodlands and Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital and congratulate them on their successful application," said Charlie Homer, president and CEO of the National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality, in the release. "The large number of applications we received affirms the commitment of hospitals across our country to be part of a health care system that truly focuses on promoting health for women and infants." For a full list of selected Best Fed Beginnings participants, visit www.nichq.org/our_projects/cdcbreastfeeding_participating_teams.html.
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