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Presbyterian Kicks Off Breastfeeding Initiative

March 10, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Last week, Presbyterian Hospital kicked off a global initiative to promote and support breastfeeding. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative will focus on improving the quality of maternal and infant care at Presbyterian Hospital by creating an exceptional experience for families throughout pregnancy and childbirth.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative was launched by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in 1991 to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding. The goal is to promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant’s life.

Currently, 81.5 percent of New Mexico mothers initiate breastfeeding but only 22.8 percent of babies are exclusively breastfed at six months of age. Studies have shown that exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, asthma, obesity, juvenile diabetes and infections, and benefits mother and baby overall.

"Breastfeeding is the best prevention strategy," said Carol L’Esperance, RN, Presbyterian Lactation Care Manager. "Exclusive breastfeeding is the first and most vital step toward increasing the health of newborns, preemies and even mothers."

Becoming a Baby-Friendly facility is a comprehensive, detailed and thorough journey toward providing exceptional evidence-based maternity care, and Presbyterian Hospital is taking steps to earn this designation. Over the next two years, Presbyterian Hospital will establish the highest standard possible for the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding, along with following the Ten Steps of Successful Breastfeeding as defined by Baby-Friendly USA, a not-for-profit organization that is the accrediting body for the Baby-Friendly designation.

Mothers who exclusively breastfeed in the hospital are much more likely to continue once they go home. A study conducted in Switzerland by UNICEF shows children born in Baby-Friendly facilities are more likely to be breastfed for a longer time, improving overall health and wellness. With a number of support services in place, including having international board-certified lactation consultants available, mother-baby skin-to-skin contact after delivery, 24-hour rooming-in, outpatient lactation services, and breastfeeding education for physicians and staff, Presbyterian is well on the way to becoming a Baby-Friendly facility.

For more information on Baby-Friendly USA, visit its website:

About Presbyterian Healthcare Services

Presbyterian Healthcare Services exists to improve the health of patients, members and the communities we serve. Presbyterian was founded in New Mexico in 1908, and is the state’s only private, not-for-profit healthcare system. Presbyterian offers eight hospitals, a statewide health plan and a growing multi-specialty medical group. Presbyterian is the second largest private employer in New Mexico with more than 9,500 respected employees and growing.

Media Inquiries:

Niki Allcorn
Communications Specialist

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