Labor & Delivery      Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative

Baby‑Friendly Hospital Initiative

The Baby‑Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program launched in 1991 to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and for mother‑infant bonding. This project recognizes that one of the best ways a mother can protect and promote her infant’s health, as well as her own, is through breastfeeding.

AVH achieved Baby‑Friendly designation in 2015. Our nursing staff at the Women & Infants Pavilion has extensive breastfeeding training. For more difficult breastfeeding challenges, our lactation team provides consultations to new mothers. AVH aims to empower mothers to feel more confident about breastfeeding and thereby improve the health of their newborns.

The Importance of Breastfeeding

At the AVH Women & Infants Pavilion, we encourage and support breastfeeding. There are many benefits for mom and baby such as:

Breastfeeding offers an unmatched beginning for children.
Human milk gives infants the most complete nutrition possible. It delivers an optimal mix of nutrients and antibodies to help babies thrive. Scientific studies have shown that breastfed children have far fewer and less serious illnesses than those who never receive breast milk, including a reduced risk of SIDS, childhood cancers and diabetes.

Mothers who breastfeed are healthier.
Recent studies show that women who breastfeed have lower risks of breast and ovarian cancer, anemia, and osteoporosis. They are empowered by their ability to provide complete nourishment for their babies. Both mother and baby enjoy the emotional benefits of the very special and close relationship formed through breastfeeding.

Families who breastfeed save money.
In addition to the fact that breast milk is free, breastfeeding provides savings on healthcare costs and related time lost to care for sick children. Because breastfeeding saves money, parents feel less financial pressure and take pride in knowing they are able to give their babies the very best.

Communities reap the benefits of breastfeeding.
Research shows that there is less absenteeism from work among breastfeeding families. Resources used to feed those in need can be stretched further when mothers choose to give their babies the gift of their own milk rather than a costly artificial substitute. Less tax money is required to provide assistance to properly feed babies. Mothers who breastfeed have more money available to purchase goods and services, thereby benefiting the local economy. Research also shows that breastfed babies have higher IQ scores, as well as better brain and nervous system development. When babies are breastfed, both mother and baby are healthier throughout their lives. This translates to lower healthcare costs and a reduced financial burden on families and third‑party payers, as well as community and government medical programs.

The environment benefits when babies are breastfed.
Scientists agree that breast milk is still the very best way to nourish babies, and may even protect babies from some of the effects of pollution. Breastfeeding uses none of the tin, paper, plastic or energy necessary for preparing, packaging and transporting artificial baby milks. Since there is no waste in breastfeeding, each breastfed baby cuts down on pollution and garbage disposal problems.

Adapted from Did You Know Breastfeeding Makes a Difference? La Leche League, the International Lactation Consultant Association, and the National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy.