UR Medicine’s Women’s Health Practice at Lattimore has earned New York State designation as a Breastfeeding Friendly Practice.
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has been working with hospitals to improve breastfeeding policies and maternity care practices to increase exclusive breastfeeding during the birth hospitalization and beyond. Its Breastfeeding Friendly Practice Designation program helps physicians and health care providers in outpatient settings improve their breastfeeding policies and procedures. The program aims to make the health benefits of breastfeeding more accessible to mothers and babies in New York state.
To become a Breastfeeding Friendly Practice, applicants must meet the state’s criteria, which include:
· Developing plans and policies to ensure breastfeeding is included in the practice’s mission and goals
· Ensuring that all medical providers and staff receive training to support their patients who choose breastfeeding
· Creating an office environment that supports breastfeeding; the practice opened a lactation room in January 2017 to provide a comfortable, private place for new mothers to breastfeed.
· Providing education and support to pregnant women so they are aware of breastfeeding’s benefits and can make an informed choice about how to feed their baby. Educational materials also help mothers learn the basics of breastfeeding and how to manage any challenges they may encounter.
· Encouraging mothers to feed newborns only breast milk for the first 6 months, with continued breastfeeding as long as mother and baby wish. While 86.6% of new mothers in New York state start breastfeeding, only 56 percent of infants are breastfed for the recommended six months.
· Helping mothers maintain breastfeeding when they are separated from their infants, such as returning to school or work.
“We are proud of this designation and spent many months ensuring that we meet the state’s comprehensive guidelines for a breastfeeding-friendly practice,” said Ellen J. Tourtelot, M.D., Assistant Professor of OB/GYN at UR Medicine and medical director of The Women’s Health Practice at Lattimore. “While breastfeeding looks straightforward, new mothers face many challenges. There are many health benefits for babies, children and mothers and we want to help women meet their breastfeeding goals. It’s important that they know they can turn to their health care providers for ongoing care and support.”
The Women’s Health Practice at Lattimore is now one of only three in Monroe County with this designation; UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital Pediatric Practice previously earned designation in 2016.