At Atlantic Health System, our philosophy on caring for babies has earned us world-wide recognition. In fact, Chilton Medical Center, Morristown Medical Center, Overlook Medical Center and Newton Medical Center have received the prestigious international designation of Baby-Friendly hospital by Baby-Friendly USA – an accolade only given to those hospitals who implement successful breastfeeding practices and provide ongoing support for mothers and families. These initiatives include a written policy that helps mothers start breastfeeding within one hour of birth and rooming-in, which encourages mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
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Additionally, our philosophy of mother and baby care, states:
- We believe that breastfeeding provides many benefits for mothers and babies and we recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, then continued breastfeeding with the introduction of solids. Babies who receive breast milk have less risk of food allergies, diarrhea, ear infections, obesity, diabetes and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Mothers who breastfeed have less risk of postpartum hemorrhage, osteoporosis, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and Type 2 diabetes.
- We believe that all babies should feed on demand regardless of infant feeding choice. Look for your baby’s early signs of hunger such as rooting, licking lips, or putting his hands to his mouth. This is when your baby should be offered a feeding. Do not wait until your baby is crying – this is a late sign of hunger. Babies will usually demand to eat eight or more times in 24 hours. Try not to put time constraints on when or how long your baby can eat. Let your baby nurse for as long and as often as he or she wants. The more often a baby nurses, the more milk you will make. Most babies are hungrier at night. This is when a woman will make the most breast milk.
- We believe that breastfeeding babies should avoid pacifiers and artificial nipples in the first three to four weeks of life until breastfeeding is well established. During this time, pacifiers should only be used for comfort during painful procedures. Early pacifier use can mask signs that your baby is hungry, decrease the number of feedings your baby gets, contribute to a painful latch, and decrease your milk supply. If you plan to both breastfeed and formula feed, we recommend that you start only breastfeeding then add formula after three to four weeks. After breastfeeding has been established, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your baby should be offered a pacifier at nap and bed time to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- We believe that all mothers should be treated with respect regardless of infant feeding choice. A mother’s infant feeding choice will be explored and education will be offered, but a mother’s final choice will be wholeheartedly respected and supported.
- We believe that early and frequent skin-to-skin contact between the mother and the baby is mutually beneficial. Skin-to-skin contact is when your naked or diapered baby is placed on your bare chest and you both are covered with a blanket. This should be done as soon after delivery as possible. This close skin-to-skin contact helps your baby warm, decreases crying, and helps with the adjustment to life outside the womb. Skin-to-skin contact also helps with the breastfeeding process. Skin-to-skin contact helps new mothers remain calm, lowers blood pressure, and stabilizes heart rate and breathing.
- We believe that babies staying in the mother’s room at all times, otherwise called “rooming in,” increases rest for both mom and baby no matter how you have decided to feed your baby. Staying together helps a mom to learn her baby’s feeding cues and special needs. Most routine care can be done right in your room. Moms who keep their babies with them make more breast milk faster. Moms who keep their babies in the room with them actually sleep more than moms who send their babies back to the nursery, and babies who stay with their moms sleep longer and cry less than if they were in the nursery. Please be reassured that you will not be on your own – your nurse will be there to take care of both you and your baby. Learn more about rooming in >