Vredenburg Hospital Receives Baby-Friendly Accreditation
Vredenburg Hospital celebrated its baby-friendly status by hosting a celebration ceremony on Thursday, 17 November 2011, in recognition of receiving the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) accreditation.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), launched by the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1992, is an accreditation process that requires a hospital to reach specific standards related to the Ten Steps for Successful Breastfeeding. It is a global effort to encourage and recognise hospitals and birthing centres that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding women and their babies.
The Ten Steps for Successful Breastfeeding are:
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all healthcare staff.
- Train all healthcare staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one half-hour of birth.
- Show mothers how to breastfeed and maintain lactation, even if they should be separated from their infants.
- Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, not even sips of water, unless medically indicated.
- Practice rooming in - that is, allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
- Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.
Recent studies show that mothers benefit greatly from having full knowledge of the significant benefits of breastfeeding for their newborn babies. More must be done to increase that knowledge and the best place to start is with hospitals and health care facilities.
Breastfeeding benefits both mother and baby; it harvests remarkable health benefits, provides critical nutrients, protects from deadly diseases such as pneumonia, promotes bonding between mother and child and fosters growth and development. Exclusively breastfed babies are also less likely to develop chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity later in life. Mothers benefit from breastfeeding too, as it helps the body recover from pregnancy and labour and lowers a mother's risk for developing diabetes, ovarian cancer and some forms of breast cancer.
What happens in the hospital before and after birth plays a crucial role in establishing breastfeeding and in encouraging mothers to continue breastfeeding after leaving the facility. This emphasises the importance of breastfeeding and the assistance, encouragement and support provided by facilities in terms of breastfeeding.
Principal Communications Officer
Western Cape Government Department of Health
Tel: 021 483 3563
Cell: 084 293 6277
Fax: 021 483 6169