St. John Hospital & Medical Center recently became the first hospital in Detroit, and the second in Michigan, to be designated as Baby-Friendly ™.
In 2011, St. John Hospital & Medical Center received a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to help the hospital pursue the Baby-Friendly Hospital designation. The certification was created in 1991 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as part of a global Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) to increase breastfeeding rates worldwide.
“St. John’s commitment to the health of Detroit’s mothers and infants and diligence in achieving the Baby Friendly Designation is a tremendous step forward. The Kellogg Foundation applauds their efforts to increase breastfeeding rates and improve the overall health of generations to come.”
For every 1,000 live births in Detroit, approximately 166 infants die before reaching their first birthdays, resulting in an infant mortality rate of 14.8 percent. This startling statistic is double the average Michigan infant mortality rate and is higher than rates in some developing nations.
“Breastfeeding not only benefits moms’ and babies’ health, it benefits every one of us,” says Dr. Paula Schreck, MD, IBCLC, medical director, St. John Breastfeeding Support Services and the Outpatient Breastfeeding Clinic. “We would like to bring our breastfeeding rate up to at least the [national] Healthy People 2010 parameters, which is 75 percent.”
Healthy People 2010 is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to promote breastfeeding as one of many ways to improve Americans’ health. The program includes objectives to increase the number of mothers who breastfeed at early postpartum, six months and 12 months. For 2010, the target rates for mothers who breastfeed are 75 percent at early postpartum, 50 percent at six months, and 25 percent at 12 months.
St. John Hospital and Medical Center also received support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in 2011 to develop the St. John Mother Nurture Project, an innovative program to support breastfeeding families. The hospital offers prenatal breastfeeding education, lactation support for new mothers six days a week, an Outpatient Breastfeeding Clinic and a mother nurture club that provides peer-to-peer support.
Learn more about the St. John Mother Nurture Project.