CHENNAI: To help mother-to-be choose private hospitals which lays emphasis on supporting her choice to breastfeed her baby, a new initiative has been launched for accreditation of private hospitals offering maternity services.
Under this initiative, Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India, a 30-year-old organisation, for protection promotion and support of Breastfeeding in India, and Association of Healthcare Providers of India (AHPI), comprising 12,000 private hospital including maternity centres, has entered into a strategic partnership and launched ‘National Accreditation Centre for Breastfeeding Friendly Hospitals’.
Bloom Healthcare in Chennai became the first to be accredited. Dr Kavitha Gautham, Director of Bloom Healthcare, told TNIE mothers are losing out on the opportunity to breast feed during the golden hour due to C-section. Not only that, in a fast-paced life, women don’t have time to breastfeed due various social issues and are dependent on formula feed.
Many mothers have complained that private hospitals are ignoring the golden hour, the first hour after birth, when a mother has uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact with her newborn. This period is critical for a newborn who spent the past nine months in a controlled environment. The golden hour helps regulate the baby’s temperature, helps control their respiration and lowers the risk of low blood sugar.
Gowrishankri, a woman from Chennai recounting her stay in hospital during pregnancy, says, “I did not feed my baby in the golden hour. The baby was fed formula without my consent just because I had a C-section.”
“According to TN National Family Health Survey-5 data, 44.9 per cent women deliver by caesarean section. Scientific evidence clearly shows that caesarean delivery impacts negatively on early breastfeeding rates. All these mothers can be helped if they adopt the programme we have suggested and go for accredited Breastfeeding-Friendly Hospitals,” says Dr Arun Gupta, a paediatrician working for over three decades to improve breastfeeding in India and who designed this initiative. “We would like to invite all maternity hospitals in the country to check their readiness of being breastfeeding friendly by doing a self -assessment,” says Dr Gupta.