Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital (NSSH) has been able to successfully implement a Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI). Under the initiative, 71 per cent children born at the hospital during June-July received their mother’s milk—ideal first feed which provides lifelong immunity against diseases, boosts growth and tissue repair factors within the, ‘Golden Hour,’ of childbirth.
BFHI was launched by World Health Organisation and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) in 1991, to implement practice that protects, promotes and supports breastfeeding. The BFHI revolution at NSSH started with the medical administration taking active efforts to study existing breastfeeding practices.
“We conducted an audit of our ‘Birthing unit,’ to understand constraints, bottlenecks and current beliefs or practices. The audit report findings suggested need of counselling and training for expectant mothers during antenatal period. We helped the mothers prepare physically and mentally to breastfeed their babies post-delivery and experience it as precious bonding moments with their baby,” said Dr Ashwini Jogade, Medical Superintendent, NSSH.
While the early breastfeeding rate of NSSH during January to May was about 17 per cent between June to July the rate grew to 71 per cent. All the 56 childbirths, through vaginal and caesarean deliveries were strictly followed by skin-to-skin contact of mother and child and breastfeeding initiation.
Dr Gayatri Deshpande, Consultant, Gynaecology and Obstetrics, NSSH said the two most integral part of the initiative at NSSH were early breastfeeding initiation (breastfeeding initiation within first hour of birth) and exclusive breastfeeding (giving the child only breast milk exclusively for first six months).
“Cases where we couldn’t initiate breastfeeding were those, where either mother or the child needed immediate medical attention and couldn’t physically be together,” said Dr Deshpande, who spearheaded the programme along with Dr Jui Shinde-Patil, Lactation Counsellor, NSSH.