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WakeMed Pursuing Baby Friendly Hospital Designation

WakeMed Discontinuing Pacifier Availability and Formula Sample Distribution on Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day, Sunday, WakeMed Women’s Pavilion & Birthplaces – Raleigh and Cary are taking major steps to become a Baby Friendly hospital as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).  WakeMed is the first hospital in the region to pursue this designation, and conform to the standards outlined in the Ten Steps to Breastfeeding.

One of the first steps in the journey to encourage breastfeeding is to discontinue the distribution of the formula samples and diaper bags provided for free by the formula companies. While WakeMed will provide formula to infants for feeding when it is requested by the parent or guardian, the hospital will no longer distribute formula samples. WakeMed will also no longer have pacifiers available on demand in the Women’s Pavilion & Birthplace. These changes will go in to effect on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 8.

Breast Milk as Best Form of Nutrition for Infants

By reviewing where the hospital stands and adapting these ten steps, WakeMed is confirming its belief that breast milk is the best form of nutrition for infants.

Currently, the Women’s Pavilion & Birthplace – Cary has a 98 percent breastfeeding rate, and the Women’s Pavilion & Birthplace – Raleigh has a 72 percent breastfeeding rate, both of which are well above the national average. With the ten step process, the hospital can continue to improve these rates, and give mothers the support and confidence they need to commit to breastfeeding,

“The staffs at both WakeMed Raleigh Campus and Cary Hospital are working closely with the lactation consultants so they can offer new mothers the information and support they need. Our hope is that mothers leave WakeMed with the confidence and knowledge they need to continue breastfeeding their babies,” commented Elizabeth Rice, director, Women’s Pavilion & Birthplace.  “Of course, we will continue to provide support and education equally to those who chose to bottle feed their newborns.”

Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.
  6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice rooming-in — allow mothers and infants to remain together – 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breast-feeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

Click here if you would like additional information on the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.


23 thoughts to “WakeMed Pursuing Baby Friendly Hospital Designation”

  1. I think this a really poor decision and needs to be reconsidered. I fully support the idea that breastfeeding is the best option for a baby, but there are times when it is not possible to breastfeed and in these instances the mother does not need to be badgered or pushed into something that they are not able to do. I was able to breastfeed my first child, but I had to have chemotherapy while I was pregnant with my second child and was unable to produce any milk after I delivered. I also had to start more chemotherapy within weeks of delivery so even IF I had been able to make milk, I would not have been able to continue with breastfeeding for more than two weeks. It was a very difficult time and I did not appreciate being pushed to “just give it one more try” when I needed to spend what little time I had with my newborn before beginning another brutal round of chemo. I did not need to be spending time pumping, trying to force my son to latch on to an empty breast or listening to him cry from hunger because he wasn’t getting anything. I also needed the samples that were given to me-formula is expensive and each of the samples I received represented a few dollars that I did not have to worry about when there was so much else to deal with. Breastfeeding is a very personal decision and should be left to the mother to decide. Provide education for sure, but we don’t need to badger women into making the decision we want them to make and we should support them in whatever decision they do make. Parenting is hard enough without being forced to feel guilty about a decision that you may or may not have had control over.

  2. I agree with Karen. Despite what most of the lactation consultants and La Leche Leaguers will say, breastfeeding does NOT come easily and naturally to all moms. When my daughter was born 15 months ago, I had flat nipples and a delayed milk supply (presumably due to emergency C-section) and my daughter did not latch properly. I’m a nurse and had dutifully attended the pre-natal breastfeeding class with the hope of being able to nurse her for at least a year. But that did not work out – it was a terrible, painful, depressing experience that left both my daughter and I miserable. Because I am bullheaded and stubborn and luckily had a lot of support at home, I exclusively pumped breast milk for my daughter for 8 months, giving her nearly 15 months of breast milk and no formula. But I was blessed with an oversupply and a life that was conducive to pumping. Nevertheless, it was hell on my body – I had blistered nipples, yeast and bacterial infections of my nipples, and maceration of the areolar tissue. I still have scars now. When she was 6 months old and starting solids, we discovered feeding therapy and found out that a referral to them at birth might have helped – she has a small jaw and a high palate as well as some sensorimotor issues that essentially made it impossible for her to latch. But even with all my pumping, I was still made to feel like a failure by the army of “breast-is-best” moms, nurses, and lactation professionals. Had I not had so much support from my husband, my parents, and my boss, my daughter would have been formula-fed.

    There is absolutely no reason to vilify moms who either choose not to breast feed or who cannot breast feed. Unfortunately, this highly publicized decision to remove formula and pacifiers from the list of items routinely provided to new moms tacitly does just that. As a nurse, I am disappointed to see that individualized, patient-centered care plans have fallen by the wayside as we pander to the latest trend in infant care. I am happy that I was able to provide my daughter with enough breast milk, but as my mom points out, I was formula-fed and I turned out just fine. Motherhood is filled with enough opportunities for guilt-ridden second-guessing of oneself without the hospital throwing in a couple more for moms who don’t breastfeed.

  3. Being educated in the feeding choices available to new mothers is wonderful. But they are choices and no one choice is better or worse. This step to push breastfeeding onto new mothers who may choose not to breastfeed I feel adds undue pressure and stress on these new mothers.
    Providing new mothers who choose to formula feed with free formula was a much appreciated service. My eldest child who I chose to formula feed had to change formulas in her first few days. Having the free samples saved our family money especially in light of the fact that we had to change formulas. My sister relied on free samples while she awaited for her milk to fully come in. Although she chose to breastfeed, the samples financially assisted them while awaiting her milk to come in enough to fully nourish her child. These are free samples and cost the hospital NOTHING. Why not still provide mothers with these samples if they choose to formula feed?
    No pacifiers?! Some babies need to suck to settle themselves. Of course some parents choose not to use pacifiers and again it is their choice.

  4. Congratulations Wake Med! What a wonderful way to support families in the triangle. This is quite an example of using evidence-based practices to improve the health of women & babies. Maybe more hospitals in the area will follow your lead.

  5. Good for you, WakeMed! As a doula, I am so happy to see WakeMed supporting moms and babies. Skin-to-skin contact right after birth, breastfeeding support, and rooming in are so important for babies to get the best start in life. I am looking forward to seeing these policies implemented.

  6. Thank you for pursuing this excellent goal. All new mothers need support in differing ways. It is nice to see an effort to differentiate care appropriately in support of each mother’s goals. Becoming Baby-friendly is an effort to provide more personalized, evidence-based care to moms who choose to breastfeed, but it doesn’t detract from the needs of mothers who choose to bottle-feed. Kudos to WakeMed for this forward-thinking policy. Let’s not make this a debate between breast vs. bottle and instead celebrate this move toward better care for *all* mothers.

  7. Yea! So happy about this decision! The more support women have the better we will all fare! Formula and pacifiers are always available and promoted by the for profit companies that make them. There’s never enough support for breastfeeding! Yea again and kudos!

  8. I totally agree with Karen. Breastfeeding may be a the best ooption for the baby but sometimes every mother can’t or would rather not breastfeed. I know that donor milk is available but I personally would rather not give my baby someone else’s milk. I tried breastfeeding in the hospital and at home it just didn’t work for me. She cried and cried, likely from sensing my frustrations and hunger. I don’t think a mother should be forced to do something she doesn’t want to do.I thought the information I recieved in hospital was helpful but when I got home it was another story. Breastfeeding may be the most healthy way to nourish a new baby but my daughter is healthy and thriving like an 8 month old should. Also, formula is very Expensive. Those samples that are given help out alot. I childbirth experience and stay at WakeMed was very pleasant but, if forcing me to breastfeed is what can expect with my next child, I would rather go to another hospital.

  9. Good job, WakeMed. Encouraging breastfeeding is not the same as “badgering” or “vilifying” mothers who choose, for whatever reason, to formula-feed. Even formula companies admit that breastmilk is the best food for babies. If hospitals put more effort into supporting new mothers in their attempts to breastfeed, it just might not be as hard. WakeMed cannot force anyone to breastfeed, but they can educate, support, and encourage those that choose to breastfeed.

  10. This is a fantastic step. I know first hand that breastfeeding can be challenging and without the support I had in the early weeks I may not have continued. Support can make a huge difference. And knowing when other choices are best for baby and/or mom can be part of the process as well.

  11. Thank you WakeMed for pursuing this wonderful goal to improve public health! The baby friendly hospital initiative is not a “pushy” initiative. It aims to give mothers and their babies the best possible start by providing a supportive environment where breastfeeding can be as successful as possible. Of course, if mothers are not able to breastfeed they will be supported as well. The initiative will provide them more time with their precious babes through rooming-in and skin-to-skin, even if they are not able to breastfeed.
    Again, thank you. Please let the community know what we can do to help!

  12. First off, way to go WakeMed!! This is such an important step to improving maternity care in this country.

    There seems to be a misunderstanding of what the 10 Steps aim to do judging from the comments above. Baby Friendly is not about making mothers feel guilty, it is about promoting and supporting breastfeeding and removing the influence of formula marketing. It also ensures that staff caring for new mothers are trained in breastfeeding education. If a mother does not breastfeed- either because she can’t or because she chooses not to, she can access formula for her baby; the only difference is that the hospital will have to buy the formula it uses as opposed to receiving it for free in exchange for giving it out in diaper bags and posting advertisements. The 10 Steps also aim to remove barriers to effective breastfeeding such as decreasing mother-infant separation and discouraging routine pacifier use.

  13. I am so glad to read about this. Frankly, my experience at WakeMed Cary in 2005 was very pro-formula, and it’s the reason my subsequent babies have been/will be born in Chapel Hill. I remember vividly begging to see the LC while we were in the hospital, and being told by the nurses that I was “starving” my daughter because my milk hadn’t come in within 24 hours of my c-section. And I can’t even begin to count the various reasons I was told I could not continue nursing — everything from my nipples being the wrong shape to the baby being lazy/tired/too small. We did end up sticking it out and I nursed her for 22 months, but it seemed like all I ever heard from the professionals who were supposed to be helping me was that nursing isn’t for everyone and that formula is a good choice.

    I am 100% in favor of women being allowed to make their own choices about how to feed their children, and I don’t think any formula-feeding mom should be pressured or criticized. But it doesn’t seem to me that that’s what this initiative is about. I think it’s wonderful that WakeMed wants to provide it’s patients with educated, well-informed care, and that it’s backing up that desire with policies designed to make life as easy on nursing moms as possible.

  14. The fact that this will come with education for the staff is the biggest plus there is! They can be educated to detect such things as tongue-tie, high palate and small jaw issues and they can do things to help. No, mothers do not need to be badgered or pushed into breastfeeding, but for those who really do want to – and the numbers are very high – there really does need to be very educated staff and certain guidelines need to be followed so that breastfeeding isn’t interrupted. Many moms are very disappointed when they find they were not given the correct information right at the beginning, which could have made the difference for their breastfeeding success.
    I don’t know of any La Leche League Leaders or IBCLCs who would tell a mother breastfeeding is easy at the beginning. It most assuredly is not. Some moms don’t have many issues, but the majority of mothers do, and a lot of times it is a direct result of being given the wrong information, having no support, and of hospital policies that are not conducive to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is new to a newborn and there is definitely a 6 to 8 weeks learning curve for most of them.
    I really don’t understand the guilt issue. Why would any mother feel guilty if they tried to breastfeed and couldn’t (for whatever reason) or if they just plain don’t want to? I’m a lactation consultant, and I certainly don’t think anyone needs to feel guilt if they don’t breastfeed, but I’m here to help anyone who does want to. I don’t feel the need to convince mothers to breastfeed. Already, most mothers do want to, but the low breastfeeding rates that we have are a direct result of not enough support, not enough education for doctors/nurses, and hospital policies that are not helpful to breastfeeding moms/babies. Hopefully, becoming a Baby Friendly hospital will rectify this problem.

  15. As an employee of WakeMed’s Mother/Baby Unit, I’d like to assure anyone with concerns that we will continue to support all of our mothers in their infant feeding decisions, whether that is breastfeeding or formula feeding. We are aware that there are compelling, personal and medical reasons why some women choose to formula feed.

    If a mother has made the decision to breastfeed, we want to provide her with support and every possible opportunity to be successful.

  16. Just curious. The WHO (World Health Organization) also recommends 6 months of breastfeeding. Most countries, and even employers in the US, give maternity leave for 3-6 months to encourage this practice. If WakeMed is truly behind this, it’s curious that they don’t provide this for their own employees. It seems like a case of “do what I say, not what I do”.

  17. I think it is great that WakeMed is working toward improving maternity care in this community. However, I too believe that the choice is completely up to the parents whether to breast or formula feed. We as a hospital are offering a disservice to our mothers by not giving them formula and/or coupons for it; especially if woman can’t or more importantly choose not to brease feed.

    As a mother (of a 2 1/2 yo), I had no lactation help during my hospitalaziton here or upon discharge. It did not come easy to my child, and after 2 weeks it was discoverd by a outside lactation consultant that he was “tongue-tied.” I had mastitiis within a week of delivery and my milk supply suffered. I therefore pumped for several months…it was neither fun but at least I gave my child what I could!

    At this very trying and emotional time in a woman’s life, I would like to see more support from the hospital for breastfeeding mothers upon discharge: such as in home lactation help if needed, consisitency of nursing education in breastfeeding dos & don’ts(I had a lot of inconsistencies); more lacation help during hospitaliztion.

    What better way to promote breastfeeding, then offering a quiet, private, and comfortable atmoshphere for our own employees to pump that wish to breastfeed. I have witnessed several nurses use a “closet” to pump…seems to me there is a better way!

  18. Very interesting blog. Way to go WakeMed! First in yet another arena!!!

    The Baby Friendly inititive does not prevent the hospital from giving formula to who choose to bottle feed their babies. The change simply means the hospital no longer offers free advertising in the form of gift packs to their patients.

    Regarding the point made about offering a quiet, private, and comfortable room for employees to pump – WakeMed does provide this at all facilities. While these rooms are not on every floor, they do exist and they surpass what is required by law. In addition, these rooms may also be used by visitors who need to pump.

  19. Another step in the right direction would be to designate parking spaces in the lots and parking garages for “Expecting Mothers”, as many progressive shopping malls do.

    These spaces are used on the honor system, and usually located near the handicap section. Their proper use does not require monitoring by Campus Police.

    I was mortified to learn that a professional colleague of mine needed to have her husband drive her to work (he’s an attorney) because WakeMed had inadequate maternal parking. Pregnancy is not a handicap and having employees request a handicap sticker from their OB’s is an abuse of the system.

    If we TRUELY want to be kids friendly, baby friendly and family friendly at WakeMed, our pregnant co-workers should not have to schlep from the 6th floor of P3 when 8 months pregnant, with swollen ankles, boarderline diabetes in 90 degree heat.

    Respectfully submitted,

  20. Way to go Wakemed!!! This a good start. It is going to take a while to bring the Karen’s and Jassica’s to reality. But I am sure it will happen.

    For those who talk about practicality of breast feeding, remember you are talking about your practicality, not baby’s. Best thing for baby is breast milk. If you put your practicality ahead of baby’s, may be a life with out baby is more practical.

  21. I am a lactation consultant in the miami area.I feel implementing the baby friendly initiative we have to respect a mother’s wishes not coercing breastfeeding but educating woman on the long term benefits for mother’s and their babies. The cost savings for society and promotion of health for future generations.

  22. Well this explains why I didn’t get my cool diaper bag and some free formula when I delivered on June 4! I thought it was because I had 3 children. I have to say I breastfed my first 2 for 6 months and I worked full time. I also nearly went CRAZY trying to keep up with work, pumping, not sleeping, post partum, etc, etc. People can be so judgmental and into ur business about whether u are nursing or formula feeding. It is nobody’s business! We don’t walk around and ask how many hours of TV has ur kid watched this week or how many chicken nuggets have they eaten?? (well some crazy moms might). I agree it is the best thing, but on my 3rd, I nursed until I went back to work (2 months) and I had to stop for my own sanity. I couldn’t keep up and it was the best choice for all, but no one supports that except my family…..and guess what, that is all that matters. I was formula fed back in the early 70’s because more women were going back to work, my mom was fed Pet Milk and corn syrup back in 1941 because my grandmother had toxemia and couldn’t breastfeed and we are still alive! I am sure when my kids grow up, Wakemed will be passing out formula again because the pendulum keeps swinging!

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