Breastfeeding has many benefits for both mom and baby. The World Health Organization recommends that new mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth and that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth. Clinical Education Specialist for Women’s Health, Aurora Gumamit DNP, CNS, shares how CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center encourages all of our new mothers to try to breastfeed and have resources in place to help them be successful.

Knowledgeable Staff and a Comfortable Environment
From birth to discharge, skin-to-skin bonding and mother-baby time together are promoted and supported. All new mothers and their babies are provided private rooms in the postpartum unit. CHA HPMC’s full-time lactation consultant provides expert advice and coaching to new mothers and nursing staff. For those mothers who would prefer to give their newborns formula, we provide education on how to safely prepare the formula for her newborn.

Baby-Friendly Hospital Designation
In recognition of our breastfeeding efforts, in 2014 CHA Hollywood Presbyterian received the prestigious Baby-Friendly designation from Baby-Friendly USA, part of a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies, especially in providing information, confidence, and skills necessary to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies or safely feed them with formula.

Our Baby-Friendly designation was accomplished through a collaborative team effort in which the Women’s Health staff, leaders, and physicians worked together to improve the care for mothers and their newborns. Promotion of exclusive breastfeeding is accomplished through support, education, and encouragement. The department’s important initiative is to improve exclusive breastfeeding rates after birth, at discharge, and during the baby’s first six months of life. The nursing staff and physicians attended a minimum of 16 hours of classroom training and hands-on approach to ensure that the Ten Steps of Successful Breastfeeding established by the BFHI are implemented and promoted.

Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breast milk contains the best combination of ingredients for your baby’s overall growth and development.

Benefits for Your Baby

  • Breast milk provides all the nutrition your baby needs for the first six months of life. Breast milk contains the perfect blend of nutrients, fat and protein for your baby to grow.
  • Breastfed babies have fewer illnesses. You pass your antibodies to your baby through your breast milk, giving your baby a head start in fighting off infections. As a result, rates of ear infections, respiratory problems, asthma and allergies are lower in breastfed babies. They also have a reduced risk of some illnesses, such as diabetes and obesity, later in life.

Benefits for You

  • May help you lose weight; mothers who breastfeed return to their pre-pregnancy weight sooner.
  • Reduces rates of breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and post-partum depression.
  • Helps your uterus return to normal and decreases blood loss after your baby is born.
  • You may also experience a break from your period for as long as 12 months.
  • No cost to purchase formula.

The diverse benefits of breastfeeding translate into hundreds of dollars in savings for families, as well as billions of dollars at the national level through decreased hospitalizations and pediatric visits. Researchers have estimated that if the national initiation goal of all babies breastfeeding to six months was met, $3.6-$13 billion would be saved on pediatric healthcare costs.

Source: American Pregnancy Association, World Health Organization

“Rates of Any and Exclusive Breastfeeding by Socio-demographics among Children Born in 2012,” National Immunization Survey, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services, Accessed June 21, 2016,

Ann M. DiGirolamo, Laurence M. Grummer-Strawn, Sara B. Fein, “Effect of maternity-care practices on breastfeeding,” Pediatrics 122, 2 (2008)

Rafael Perez-Escamilla, Josefa L. Martinez and Sofia Segura-Perez, “Impact of the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative on breastfeeding and child health outcomes: a systematic review,” Maternal & Child Nutrition, doi: 10.1111/mcn.12294.
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