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Sharp Mary Birch Launches New Effort To Boost Breastfeeding

Aired 7/16/12 on KPBS News.

San Diego's Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women has been selected to participate in a national program designed to increase breastfeeding rates.

— San Diego's Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women will take part in a new nationwide effort to promote breastfeeding. The hospital is one of only five in California that's been selected for the program.

The goal of the Best Fed Beginnings program is to boost breastfeeding rates. Participating hospital staff will learn a variety of evidence-based methods aimed at achieving that goal.

Dr. Nancy Wight will help implement the program at Sharp Mary Birch. She said research shows the single biggest barrier to breastfeeding is a lack of support in the hospital.

"And part of that is unnecessary supplementation; mothers who are just not exclusively breastfeeding, but whose babies are given supplementary formula, which kind of leads on a downhill slope to only formula," Wight pointed out.

Wight explained more than 90 percent of women who deliver at Sharp Mary Birch breastfeed their babies, but only about half do so exclusively. She says that number is way too low.

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Avatar for user 'tmm0603'

tmm0603 | July 16, 2012 at 10:49 a.m. ― 4 years, 8 months ago

Sounds like Sharp Mary Birch is more concerned about what numbers they can report than supporting a mother's right to choose a feeding method that works for her and her baby. The postpartum experience is overwhelming enough - it should not include pressure from hospital staff to exclusively breastfeed.

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Avatar for user 'LMS'

LMS | July 16, 2012 at 11:52 a.m. ― 4 years, 8 months ago

@tmm0603: You are correct in stating "the postpartum experience is overwhelming" and breastfeeding can add exponentially to that stress, BUT with support--especially that of a professional who can guide a new mother through the most difficult weeks, days, hours, minutes--mother and baby can benefit for life. I certainly don't approve of shaming, judging or bullying new mothers but I do believe in encouraging, supporting and assisting mothers to breastfeed as much and as long as they can.

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