October 31st, 2013
Changes at hospitals dramatically increase breast-feeding rates
St. Louis Today
When Sarah Sidwell gave birth to her son five years ago by Cesarean section at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, she briefly peeked at him before he was taken away “for what felt like hours” to get bathed, tested and warmed in blankets.
But this month, after Sidwell gave birth to her daughter by C-section at the same hospital, her baby was placed immediately on her chest, and baby Lena stayed there for next hour and a half.
“The cool thing was she was screaming bloody murder, but the second she was on me, she was instantly quiet,” said Sidwell, 35, of St. Louis. As Sidwell’s incision was being stitched and with the help of her husband and a nurse, Lena began nursing right away.
Placing babies on mom’s chest immediately after birth – even on the operating table – is one of many changes that in just one year have led to dramatic increases in breast-feeding rates at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and other hospitals across the country.
Barnes-Jewish is one of 89 hospitals taking part in a national initiative called Best Fed Beginnings, which calls for significant changes in how mothers and babies are cared for.