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Letter to the Editor: Praising Hospital Policy

— To the Editor:

On behalf of the Alexandria Childhood Obesity Action Network’s Breastfeeding Promotion Committee, we would like to publicly thank Inova Alexandria Hospital for encouraging exclusive breastfeeding in their hospital. As engaged citizens and parents, and also representatives of the public health community, we know how important it is for women to breastfeed their newborn infant. Breastfeeding for the first six months after birth, with continued breastfeeding for at least 12 months of life, ensures that both mothers and infants receive maximum health benefits; encourages bonding; and has been shown to prevent childhood obesity and related chronic illnesses. It is vital that from the beginning women receive this type of support from their healthcare providers, family members, worksites and the hospital where they deliver.

We applaud the efforts at Inova Alexandria Hospital to support new moms and babies through the following proven strategies:

  • Offering no pacifiers to healthy newborns
  • Allowing mothers and infants to stay together in the room to encourage bonding
  • Supporting “breastfeeding on demand” with no time limits
  • Encouraging skin-to-skin within 5 minutes of birth
  • Keeping the baby in the room 23 out of 24 hours (known as rooming in)
  • Providing culturally appropriate information about the importance of breastfeeding.

Inova’s commitment to preventing childhood obesity and creating is part of a national movement to create environments where the healthy choice is the easy choice.

We commend Inova Alexandria Hospital’s efforts in encouraging healthy lifestyles and look forward to collaborating with them to support healthy moms and babies.

Diana Karczmarczyk

Chair, Breastfeeding Promotion Committee

Tricia Rodgers

Chair, Alexandria Childhood Obesity Action Network