Naval Hospital Jacksonville recognizes World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7

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Story Number: NNS140804-15Release Date: 8/4/2014 1:51:00 PM

By Yan Kennon, Naval Hospital Jacksonville Public Affairs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- As Northeast Florida's first and only World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Baby Friendly certified hospital, Naval Hospital (NH) Jacksonville recognizes World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7, as coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action.

This year's World Breastfeeding Week theme, "Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal - For Life!" underscores the importance of increasing and sustaining the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding.

"Simply put, breast milk has no equal from a health and financial standpoint," said Capt. Gayle Shaffer, NH Jacksonville commanding officer. "Studies show that exclusive breastfeeding for six months provides numerous benefits not only for baby, but mother also. Our facilities are dedicated to supporting and encouraging new parents to breastfeed as evidenced by our Baby Friendly certification."

According to WHO, breast milk is the natural first food for babies and provides all the energy and nutrients an infant needs for the first months of life. Other benefits to baby of mother's milk include less ear infections, diarrhea, respiratory infections, asthma, diabetes, obesity, childhood leukemia and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Benefits for mom include less postpartum depression, diabetes, and breast and ovarian cancer. And of the three babies (on average) born each day at NH Jacksonville, about 90 percent are breastfed when they leave-compared to a national breastfeeding rate of about 75 percent.

NH Jacksonville is currently one of 194 Baby Friendly hospitals and birthing centers in 45 states and the District of Columbia. The Baby Friendly designation is awarded after a rigorous on-site survey is completed, and maintained by continuing to practice 10 crucial program elements. The comprehensive program includes initiating breastfeeding in the first hour of life, "rooming-in" with moms and babies in the same room, educating staff and patients, and fostering breastfeeding support groups.

WHO and UNICEF launched the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in 1991, to strengthen maternity practices to support breastfeeding and mother/baby bonding.

Throughout the year, NH Jacksonville offers a wide range of classes free-of-charge to patients giving birth at its hospital-such as baby boot camp, new parent orientation, prenatal exercise, Hypnobirthing, infant massage, breastfeeding and prepared childbirth.

In addition, the hospital offers private labor and delivery and maternal and infant suites for couplet care (with mom and baby rooming together), breast pumps, breastfeeding counseling from lactation nurses, "siesta for the fiesta" daily quiet time to support feeding, and newborn hearing screenings. Dads are welcome to stay the night and visiting hours are round-the-clock.

NH Jacksonville patients can register for free classes by calling 904-542-BABY (2229).

NH Jacksonville's priority since its founding in 1941 is to heal the nation's heroes and their families. The command is comprised of the Navy's third largest hospital and five branch health clinics across Florida and Georgia. Of its patient population - about 163,000 active and retired sailors, soldiers, Marines, airmen, guardsmen and their families-70,000 are enrolled with a primary care manager and Medical Home Port team at one of its facilities.

To find out more, visit the command website at

For more news from Naval Hospital Jacksonville, visit

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