TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- Today, expecting mothers have more information at their fingertips than ever before. Phelps Memorial Hospital is aiming to cut through the clutter, and provide an environment where parents-to-be can get the answers and information they need.
An educational movement that has gained attention is the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, an accreditation which Phelps is working towards achieving. BFHI, a World Health Organization and UNICEF program, supports the American Academy of Pediatrics’ statement that breastfeeding is a natural and beneficial source of nutrition.
While encouraging breastfeeding and offering support, Phelps’ staff also respect each mother’s choice. "Breastfeeding in and of itself is good thing." say Kara Giustino, Clinical Educator and Yeva Posner, Lactation Coordinator in the Maternal Child Health Unit at Phelps. "However, so is a mother’s right to choose what form of nutrition she wants to give her baby." The BFHI aims to inform mothers about feeding options and then allow them to decide if they wish to breast feed, use formula, or both.
The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative also supports the Academy’s endorsement of “rooming in,” which means that babies stay in the hospital room with their mothers, rather than in a nursery. “Rooming in” is recommended because it fosters maternal-infant bonding and helps the baby transition from the womb. It also gives new parents an opportunity to learn how to care for their baby.
"The Baby Friendly program is dedicated to providing expectant mothers with education and current information early in their pregnancy" say Giustino and Posner. "This enables parents to consider the information and make informed choices.
The ultimate goal of Phelps, and every BFHI hospital, is to help parents raise a healthy child.