From reducing the risk of SIDS and chronic illnesses to jump-starting post-birth recovery, breastfeeding offers many benefits for babies and mothers, alike. Studies show that breastfed babies may be at a lowered risk for allergies, asthma, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Breastfeeding protects against common childhood illnesses, like pneumonia, and may even have long-term help benefits for both babies and mothers.
Yet despite substantial evidence linking breastfeeding to health benefits for infants and mothers, the percentage of newborns exclusively breastfed in the first days of life is just 44% in New York, well below the national target of 70%. Beginning in January, one of the top goals of the New York State Prevention Agenda will be increasing the percentage of infants who are exclusively breastfed, while reducing disparities.
The updated regulations will require skin-to-skin contact between the mother and baby immediately after delivery, unless medical circumstances prevent it – a practice we’re strong proponents for at Burdett Birth Center. Early skin-to-skin contact helps to initiate early breastfeeding and increases the probability of exclusive breastfeeding in the first months of life. Studies show an association between early skin-to-skin contact and babies with more stable heart and breathing rates, better temperature regulation, and higher glucose levels.
Additionally, the updated regulations will put policies in place to prevent the shortening or early termination of breastfeeding. For example, birthing hospitals will now be required to discuss the risks of early pacifier use – a go-to parenting practice that may actually make breastfeeding more difficult to establish. Further, the regulations prohibit the distribution of formula coupons and free samples to new parents.
“Burdett Birth Center is supportive of the New York State regulations, and we have been actively working toward implementing these measures for several years,” explains Burdett Birth Center’s certified lactation consultant Carrie Kimball, BSM, RN, IBCLC. “Evidence-based lactation care is every family’s right, and it is what we strive to provide our patients and larger community.”
It’s important to note that not all mothers are medically able to breastfeed or choose breastfeeding for their newborns. Those families will still be provided formula during their hospital stay, and Burdett will continue to provide training in formula preparation and feeding techniques.
In addition to communicating our updated breastfeeding policies and procedures to staff every year – another regulation in the updated guidelines – Burdett will continue taking the steps towards becoming certified as a Baby Friendly Hospital by Baby Friendly USA.
Have more questions about breastfeeding or the latest New York State regulations? Speak with one of Burdett Birth Center’s certified lactation consultants or learn more at our breastfeeding classes and support groups!