A Positive Step Toward Exclusive Breastfeeding Rate Improvement

Posted June 02, 2015 by NICHQ

Study Shows Drastic Decline in Hospital Formula Distribution

A recent studyExternal Link published by Pediatrics highlights that the percentage of hospitals distributing formula to breastfeeding mothers at time of discharge has decreased significantly in recent years, a positive sign toward hospitals embracing evidence-based maternity care practices that support a mother's choice to breastfeed.

About 73 percent of hospitals were distributing infant formula discharge packs to breastfeeding mothers in 2007. It dropped to 32 percent in 2013. That's a 57 percent reduction in six years.

"Successful breastfeeding is hampered by distribution of infant formula discharge packs, which is common practice in the United States," according to the study. It also notes that decreasing the number of new mothers leaving the hospital with free formula makes the road to exclusive breastfeeding a little easier.

At NICHQ, we have worked with over 100 hospitals across the country to embed evidence-based maternity care practices into their system. We know that increasing exclusive breastfeeding rates takes more than just decreasing formula distribution. It takes education for both hospital leaders and staff, mothers and families, and support from a community, as well as from a baby's grandparents and father.

Our learning collaborative model encourages hospitals to use quality improvement methods and evidence-based best practices to make system-level change. Hospitals learn from content experts and advisors, as well as from each other. Additionally, parent partners in these breastfeeding collaboratives have served as valuable mentors to hospital and birth center teams, offering real-world insight and experience.

Need help making the business case for breastfeeding support at your hospital? NICHQ has experience doing just that.

Having trouble engaging your hospital’s leadership to facilitate your improvement efforts? We’re good at that, too.
 


To learn more about NICHQ's breastfeeding work, visit the breastfeeding section of our website.

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