Choosing the right hospital to give birth to your precious baby can be tough. There are quite a few options but what factors determine your choice in the matter? Five maternity hospitals in Singapore have implemented WHO’s Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI)…
The World Health Organization (WHO)’s certification may help you in your final pick when it comes to your maternity hospital of choice. Beginning this month, five maternity hospitals in Singapore have implemented the BFHI guidelines, in a bid to be certified by 2014.
5 “baby-friendly” hospitals
We’ll clue you in on the hospitals that have implemented the guidelines. They are: Singapore General Hospital, National University Hospital (NUH), KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Mount Alvernia Hospital and Thomson Medical Centre.
What are the “guidelines”?
In 1991, WHO and Unicef launched the BFHI to promote and support breastfeeding. So, hospitals that are following the guidelines will be promoting breastfeeding exclusively. This simply means that the hospital will not accept sponsored formula from milk companies. WHO recommends at least six months of exclusive breastfeeding in order to appreciate the maximum benefits of breastfeeding.
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Maternity-ward staff will follow the standard operating procedure of encouraging breastfeeding and not give newborn babies infant formulas, unless of course, there is a medical condition that necessitates otherwise.
The hospital staff will also assist in facilitating skin-to-skin contact, within the first hour after delivery, between the mum and the newborn. Babies will also be staying in their mother’s room instead of in the nursery to create a closer bond.
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Low rates of exclusive breastfeeding in Singapore
Chief executive Ang Hak Seng of the Health Promotion Board (HPB) said that the rate for exclusive breastfeeding in Singapore is low. According to last year’s HPB’ National Breastfeeding Survey, nine out of 10 mothers attempt to breastfeed. However, only 30% continued breastfeeding for at least two months.
Ang Hak Seng added: “The next challenge is in ensuring that working mothers continue to breastfeed after their 16-week maternity leave.”