Northeast Florida hospitals are offering new moms more information on breast-feeding, thanks to state grants.
The program is part of Florida’s Healthiest Weight Initiative aimed at fighting obesity.
Twenty-seven hospitals across Florida received $10,000 grants to start an education program called Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. Three are in Northeast Florida: Orange Park Medical Center, UF Health and Putnam Community Medical Center.
Baby-Friendly USA is the group behind the education campaign. It’s part of a World Health Organization global initiative. Baby-Friendly USA Executive Director Trish MacEnroe says breast-feeding is a natural part of a baby’s development process.
“The body, the mother’s body that produces the baby, naturally has got the best capability to produce the optimal nutrition to meet that growing baby’s needs after the birth,” said MacEnroe.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mothers who breast-feed their children are at a healthier weight on average than those who don’t. They are also at a lower risk of developing cancer and osteoporosis. And babies benefit, too, MacEnroe says.
“There’s some benefits, health benefits, that are conferred between the mother and the baby because of breast-feeding, and therefore non-breast-fed babies don’t get those benefits,” said MacEnroe.
Children who are breast-fed have a lower risk for developing infections, asthma, obesity, diabetes and sudden infant death syndrome.