Mercer Health’s Childbirth Center, along with other maternity centers in Ohio, is taking steps to promote its support of successful breastfeeding. The Ohio First Steps for Healthy Babies is a voluntary breastfeeding designation program through the Ohio Hospital Association and Ohio Department of Health that recognizes maternity centers in Ohio for taking steps to promote, protect, and support breastfeeding in their organization. A star is awarded for every two steps achieved in the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, as defined by the World Health Organization and Baby-Friendly USA. The initiative encourages maternity centers across the state to promote and support breastfeeding one step at a time.
To participate with the program, Mercer Health’s Childbirth Center is providing information and hospital practices supportive of breastfeeding and the Ohio First Steps for Healthy Babies program.
“It is our hope that Ohio First Steps for Healthy Babies will prompt our leaders and employees to have thoughtful conversations in the hospital about the benefits of breastfeeding in order to educate patients and the community,” Linda Finke, director of Mercer Health’s Childbirth Center, said. “The support a new mother receives from hospital employees and leaders can impact her decision to breastfeed. Increasing the number of breastfed newborns can lead to a decrease in the likelihood for future health conditions for the child such as asthma, diabetes and obesity.”
Currently, Mercer Health has received two stars for their achievements in supporting breastfeeding mothers in the hospital setting. Mercer Health looks forward to pursuing more stars in the future.
For more information on Mercer Health’s Childbirth Center, please visit www.mercer-health.com/services/childbirth-center.
For more information about Ohio First Steps for Healthy Babies, please visit http://ohiohospitals.org/ohiofirststeps.