Breastfeeding has numerous short and long term advantages for infants and women. These advantages have been noted by expert medical professional associations and international public health bodies. The WHO has promulgated guidelines for hospitals to utilize in their policies and practice in order to encourage breastfeeding and discourage inappropriate use of formula feedings. The purpose this project was to study the experience of birthing women in area hospitals within the Metropolitan Philadelphia in regard to breastfeeding. The WHO/UNICEF’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding were used as the basis to evaluate their experiences. Efforts are being made in Philadelphia to support and encourage breastfeeding, but Philadelphia breastfeeding rates fall far below the Healthy People 2020 goals. The survey, “A Mother’s Breastfeeding Experience in the Hospital,” was used to collect data from mothers who delivered a healthy child in a Metropolitan Philadelphia hospital and had breastfed their youngest child at least once. The survey addressed hospital policies and practices regarding breastfeeding. Twenty-two mothers were recruited from the Breastfeeding Resource Center to complete questionnaires. The greatest areas of strength revealed in hospital practices were receiving counseling from a lactation consultant (91%), receiving instruction regarding breastfeeding technique (100%), receiving printed or audio-visual breastfeeding information (86%), mothers’ rooming-in with their infants (64%), and receiving the anticipated breastfeeding support (73%). The results revealed that the greatest areas of deficiency in hospitals adhering to the Ten Steps are inappropriate infant formula supplementation (23%), breastfeeding mothers receiving discharge bags with free infant formula or coupons (64%), pacifier use (59%), and not initiating breastfeeding within 30 minutes of delivery or recovery (50%). Recommendations include advocacy for improvement in maternity care practices and policies in Philadelphia and for Philadelphia hospitals to join the ‘Ban the Bag’ campaign.
MacLean, Katherine E., "Mothers’ Hospital Experience with Breastfeeding: Education and Support in Metropolitan Philadelphia" (2011). Master of Public Health Capstone Presentations. Presentation 47.