|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 31, 2007
NYC Public Hospitals Eliminate Baby Formula Giveaways,
New Baby Gift Bags will be Distributed on
Ban Promo Materials in Labor Units to Encourage Breastfeeding
World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) today announced that its 11 public hospitals will exclude free baby formula samples from gift bags to new mothers, will ban formula promotion materials from labor and delivery units and will encourage initiation of breastfeeding in the baby’s first hour as part of a campaign to increase exclusive breastfeeding and improve infant health.
“We want to do all we can to improve the health of the littlest New Yorkers and encourage the use of mother’s milk for the nearly 21,000 babies born in our hospitals each year,” said HHC President Alan D. Aviles. “We are promoting breastfeeding to help reduce the risks of common childhood infections, asthma, diabetes and other conditions that children who get mother’s milk are less likely to develop. Like our baby t-shirts say - we want as many newborns as possible to ‘eat at mom’s.'”
HHC’s comprehensive breastfeeding program, funded in part by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, features:
- New gift bags for moms with a breast milk bottle cooler, disposable nursing pads, breastfeeding tips and an “I eat at mom’s” baby t-shirt;
- Education sessions starting early in pregnancy about the benefits of breast milk;
- Breastfeeding coaches who provide one-on-one lactation support to moms at the bedside to help initiate breastfeeding within one hour of delivery;
- Promoting breastfeeding on demand by having moms and babies stay in the same room until discharge;
- Making available hospital-grade electric breast pumps to moms whose newborn must remain in the hospital;
- Distribution of free personal breast pumps to eligible moms who have no health insurance;
- Ongoing peer counseling and support groups for breastfeeding moms after they leave the hospital.
HHC will continue to make formula available for women who request it or are unable to breastfeed for medical reasons. The Health Department is also planning to support hospitals in implementing similar breastfeeding promotion programs on Staten Island.
HHC estimates that about 24 percent of women who deliver at public hospital facilities leave the hospital exclusively breastfeeding, up from less than 15 percent just one year ago. HHC’s goal is to triple that number by the year 2010.
“Breastfeeding is a very important way to protect the health of babies and mothers,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, NYC Health Commissioner. “Through our partnership with HHC, we can help make breastfeeding the norm for families throughout in New York City.”
"I've been teaching breastfeeding for 25 years. There’s nothing more rewarding than witnessing the first skin-to-skin contact between a mother and a baby as we try to facilitate breastfeeding in the first hour of life,” said Maria Aviles, RN, Certified Lactation Consultant, HHC’s Jacobi Medical Center. “Just about every day I see new moms who come to us knowing nothing about breastfeeding and leave knowing the joys of the experience.”
Studies have shown breastfeeding to be protective against many illnesses, including ear infections, diarrhea, respiratory ailments, allergies, colds, viruses, staphl, strep and E. coli infections, diabetes, meningitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, salmonella, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome(SIDS) and Crohn's Disease.
"This is the second time I have had the wonderful opportunity to experience bringing a life into this world. I want to offer everything possible to my newborn. This is why I breastfeed. I'm grateful for all the education and coaching I have received to support this decision," said new mom Nicole Ayala, mother of John Allen Sebiski Jr., 9 lbs, 7 oz.
Why breastfeeding makes a difference (source: La Leche League)
- Breastfeeding offers an unmatched beginning for children. Providing infants with human milk gives them the most complete nutrition possible. Human milk provides the optimal mix of nutrients and antibodies necessary for each baby to thrive.
- Mothers who choose to breastfeed are healthier. Recent studies show that women who breastfeed enjoy decreased risks of breast and ovarian cancer, anemia, and osteoporosis. Breastfeeding helps the body recover from pregnancy and labor and burns about 500 calories a day.
- Families who breastfeed save money. In addition to the fact that breast milk is free, breastfeeding provides savings on health care costs and related time lost to care for sick children.
Tips for Breastfeeding
- Bring the baby to the breast, not the breast to the baby. Bending forward while nursing may cause back pain.
- Drink enough liquids – a glass of water, milk, or juice every time you nurse.
- Get plenty of rest, eat a healthy diet, and talk to your doctor about taking a multi-vitamin.
- Nurse often to build up your milk supply.
- If you can’t remember which side you last nursed on, put a safety pin on your bra to remind you. Some mothers switch a ring from one hand to the other.
For more breastfeeding information visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/ms/ms-bro-breastfeeding.pdf.
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), the largest municipal hospital and health care system in the country, is a $5.4 billion public benefit corporation that serves 1.3 million New Yorkers every year and nearly 400,000 who are uninsured. HHC provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, four skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 80 community based health centers. For more information about HHC, visit nyc.gov/hhc.