Febrary 24, 2016

DC Breastfeeding Coalition Seeks to Create a Baby-Friendly District

New Designation Initiative will Help Improve Breastfeeding Rates in DC

Washington, DC - Today, the DC Breastfeeding Coalition (DCBFC) announced a citywide effort to improve breastfeeding rates by increasing the number of "baby-friendly" facilities in the District of Columbia. The coalition will utilize funds awarded through Maternal and Child Health Block Grant from the Government of the District of Columbia Department of Health (DOH) to incorporate the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), a global program launched by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund. The initiative recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding. In the United States, the BFHI program is administered by Baby-Friendly USA.

In 2012, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital became the first hospital in the District designated as baby-friendly. Due in part to the work of national and local programs such as the Creating a Baby-Friendly District of Columbia Initiative, five other facilities currently working towards designation: Howard University Hospital, Providence Hospital, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, United Medical Center, and Community of Hope Family Health and Birth Center.

"We want to ensure that all moms receive the same high standard of support and care they need after giving birth in one of the District's maternity facilities. Becoming a BFHI-designated facility will help us set and achieve that standard," said Dr. Sahira Long, President, DC Breastfeeding Coalition." It is a comprehensive, detailed process that requires institutional commitment to improve breastfeeding-related maternity care practices. Mothers who give birth at baby-friendly hospitals and birthing centers have been proven more likely to initiate and sustain breastfeeding at six months and one year of age, which is a primary goal for DCBFC."

During the first year of the grant, DCBFC will work with at least three facilities in progress of achieving BFHI designation and seek to add at least one additional facility. Special emphasis will be placed on selecting a facility with the largest number of deliveries per year with a high number of low-income and minority clients. The coalition will also offer clinical and didactic trainings for nursing staff, assistance with prenatal education and provide individualized technical support to each facility selected to participate.

About the DC Breastfeeding Coalition
The DC Breastfeeding Coalition was established to increase the breastfeeding rates of all infants living in the District of Columbia. Working in partnership with maternal and child health professionals, community health organizations, and mother-to-mother support groups, the DC Breastfeeding Coalition seeks to promote, protect and support culturally-sensitive programs and activities that build awareness and understanding of the preventive health benefits of breastfeeding. Through its breastfeeding research, advocacy and educational activities, the Coalition seeks to reduce health disparities -- particularly among the most vulnerable infants and children living in our communities.

This program is funded wholly, or in part, by the Government of the District of Columbia, Department of Health, Community Health Administration.
Department of Health/CDC; CHA.CTGP2.DCBFC.062013.

P.O. Box 29214, Washington, DC 20017 • Tel 202-470-2732 • email info@dcbfc.org

Medical Disclaimer: The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems, breastfeeding problems, or to take the place of professional medical care. If you have persistent breastfeeding problems, or if you have further questions, please consult your health care provider. The DC Breastfeeding Coalition does not share partnership with, or have any vested interest in, any of the businesses that may appear on this site, or sites that may be accessible by links herein contained.