For almost two years, Dr. Benjamin Mojica, acting New York City Health Commissioner, has mandated that all of the city's 11 public hospitals create an atmosphere that is a "baby-friendly" one, and this means strongly emphasizing exclusive breastfeeding.
All of these 11 hospitals must promote breastfeeding, and have to follow the 10 steps outlined by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, as part of an initiative started 10 years ago called the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative.
The goal of this initiative is to provide an atmosphere that leads to successful breastfeeding. According to Womensenews, "That includes limiting infant formula marketing, initiating breastfeeding within the first hour of life and keeping mothers and babies in the same room."
Harlem Hospital was the only New York City hospital that met all the requirements, and consequently it received the official "Baby-Friendly" certification from the World Health Organization.
The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative is spreading across the U.S. Today there are 79 hospitals that have the "Baby Friendly" stamp of approval, compared to 64 one year ago.
There is no doubt that breastfeeding is wonderful for an infant, for it provides the best source of nutrition. Mothers who breastfeed are most assuredly more closely bond to their babies. These very same mothers also have lower rates of breast cancer and other forms of cancer, and are able to more easily lose the weight gained during pregnancy.