In March 2009, the First 5 LA Commission approved $10.5 million to support the Baby-Friendly Hospital Project in response to the county's low breastfeeding rates, which is about 33 percent, according to a January 2011 report from California WIC and the University of California, Davis Human Lactation Center. That means L.A. County ranks 43rd in the state for exclusive breastfeeding, the report states.
The hospitals selected for funding in the second round of Baby-Friendly Hospital Project grants are:
- Valley Presbyterian Hospital - $472,996
- Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center, San Pedro - $312,997
- Garfield Medical Center - $473,000
- Good Samaritan Hospital - $472,937
- Beverly Hospital - $472,977
- Greater El Monte Community Hospital - $417,685
- Pacific Alliance Medical Center - $471,595.01
- Memorial Hospital of Gardena - $472,416
- St. Francis Medical Center - $445,300
They join eight hospitals that received funding in March 2010: St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, Hollywood Presbyterian, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, Monterey Park Hospital, White Memorial Medical Center near downtown, East Los Angeles Doctors Hospital and San Gabriel Valley Medical Center in San Gabriel and California Hospital Medical Center in downtown Los Angeles.
A third and final funding cycle is scheduled to begin in November 2011.
"Baby-Friendly Hospital" is a designation made by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund and administered by Baby-Friendly USA. Hospitals who have earned the designation are recognized for their work providing new mothers with the information, confidence and skills they need to successfully initiate and continue nursing their babies.
Because breastfeeding has so many health and developmental benefits for babies - and mothers - First 5 LA welcomes the opportunity to help these hospitals and the patients they serve make the best choices.
"For many women, the hospital is the only source of breastfeeding support and education underscoring the importance of improving the way hospitals and birth centers provide assistance, encouragement and support for breastfeeding," said Evelyn V. Martinez, chief executive officer for First 5 LA. "Our goal is to help change the system so that hospitals and the general public work together to empower mothers to achieve the best infant feeding practices."