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Michigan’s first MotherBaby Summit promotes breastfeeding policies in hospitals

More than 125 nurses, doctors, lactation consultants, hospital administrators and physician leaders representing 43 institutions from across Michigan met in Detroit for the state’s first MotherBaby Summit to promote hospital policies that encourage breastfeeding.

While the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians recommend mothers exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of their child’s life, only 18 percent of Michigan mothers are still exclusively breastfeeding at this marker (Source: Breastfeeding Report Card 2012 cdc.gov/breastfeeding).

“By actively boosting breastfeeding, hospitals encourage health benefits for both mother and child that endure for years,” said pediatrician and Michigan summit organizer Dr. Paula Schreck. She also serves as breastfeeding coordinator at St. John Providence Health System and medical director of St. John Outpatient Breastfeeding Clinic in Detroit.

Breastfeeding is linked to decreased risk of obesity in children, breast and ovarian cancer in mothers and type-2 diabetes in both, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

During the summit, Anne Merewood, Ph.D., director of the Breastfeeding Center at Boston Medical Center (BMC), shared how BMC adopted components of the 10 steps of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, which was started in the 1990s by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

Participants learned about the importance of the Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care Score (mPINC), including why their institutions should complete the survey and how the scores would help track individual and statewide progress. Additionally, attendees examined a range of support services that promote breastfeeding, including night time support, rooming-in and “ban the bag” campaigns. Research show that when hospitals provide gift bags paid for by formula companies, even when formula itself is not included in the bags, it decreases the time mothers exclusively breastfeed.

In April, the William Beaumont Hospital in Grosse Pointe, Mich., became the only hospital in Michigan designated as “Baby Friendly” by the group Baby-Friendly USA, which is sponsored by the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund. The focus of the MotherBaby Summit is to help hospitals improve breastfeeding rates and increase the number of “baby friendly” hospitals in Michigan.

“As we hold this event annually, the curriculum will evolve as we work collectively to improve services to families, and increase the breastfeeding rates throughout the state,” said Dr. Schreck.

The MotherBaby Summit education model was designed by renowned breastfeeding advocate Dr. Barbara “Bobbi” Philipp of the Boston Medical Center. The project receives funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“At the Kellogg Foundation, we are concerned about the most vulnerable children in our society,” said Diana N. Derige, program officer with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “And we are working with communities in Michigan to help give children the best opportunities for a healthy start, and to promote efforts like breastfeeding, that can help mitigate poor health outcomes.”

Updates on Michigan’s MotherBaby Summit, including materials from the conference, can be found at www.motherbabysummit.com under the Michigan tab. Today’s event was supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Michigan Breastfeeding Network, Michigan Hospital Association and State of Michigan WIC.

To learn more about St. John Hospital and Medical Center’s Mother Nurture Project, click here.

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