“I am very excited and proud of the Birthing Center team for making these achievements possible,” said Megan Smith, obstetrics manager at Fisher-Titus. “Thanks to their hard work and dedication, we are able to provide more resources to mothers in the community who wish to breastfeed their babies.”
Ohio First Steps for Healthy Babies is a voluntary breastfeeding initiative by the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Hospital Association. There are ten steps in the initiative that follow the World Health Organization and Baby-Friendly USA’s “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” guidelines. Hospitals can choose which steps to take and in which order. Hospitals earn one star for every two steps completed with a possible total of five stars.
Fisher-Titus has completed three steps: having a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff, encouraging breastfeeding on demand, and fostering establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital. The completion of these three steps has earned Fisher-Titus its first star from Ohio First Steps for Healthy Babies.
The Maternity Care Best Practice Award 2018 from the Ohio Breastfeeding Alliance and the Ohio Lactation Consultant Association recognizes hospitals for being “bag free.” This means that the hospital does not give out free infant formula samples or formula company-branded diaper bags and goods. The award encourages hospitals to adopt practices that align with Baby-Friendly USA certification requirements. “Bag-free” hospitals will still provide formula for mothers who wish to formula feed or mothers who are struggling to breastfeed.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life followed by breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of foods until they are at least 12 months old. Breastfeeding protects infants against respiratory illnesses, ear infections, gastrointestinal disease, asthma and allergies. It also reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and reduces adolescent and adult obesity in breastfed infants.
Fisher-Titus hosts a breastfeeding support group every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to noon in the fourth floor lactation room located in the lobby of the Birthing Center at Fisher-Titus Medical Center. The group is open to all breastfeeding mothers and is hosted by a certified lactation consultant. Moms can bring up any concerns or struggles as well as weigh their child before and after feeding.