Baby, It’s You

As part of the 15th anniversary of the passage of Proposition 10, which provided funding to create First 5s throughout California, the Monday Morning Report will regularly highlight First 5 LA’s major milestones, accomplishments and accolades during the last 15 years.

Becoming a new mother is a journey filled with excitement and uncertainty. During its 15-year history, First 5 LA has been there to ensure that new mothers get the help they need to make the best start for their babies.

In 2012- 2013 alone, 25 percent of the children First 5 LA served were age birth to 1 year. These services ranged from voluntary home visiting programs to enrich the parent-child relationship to educating new mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding. Key investments in these areas include:

WELCOME BABY

The Welcome Baby program provides primary health prevention, parent education and voluntary home visitation. All families delivering at participating hospitals will receive a Welcome Baby hospital visit at the time of their baby’s birth. Families residing within a Best Start community will be eligible for up to nine Welcome Baby engagement points: three times prenatally, once at the hospital, and up to five times after the baby’s birth.

During the visits, a member of the Welcome Baby staff provides services including: observing and evaluating infant feeding and providing breastfeeding advice; observing parent-infant attachment and infant behavior; identifying health insurance coverage, if necessary; educating parents about the parent-child bond; screening mothers for postpartum depression and, if needed, referring them to services; performing a screening to assess child development milestones; and referring families to their local Best Start community activities.

First 5 LA has approved strategic partnerships with 24 targeted hospitals to expand Welcome Baby throughout Los Angeles County with 13 already enrolling families. The 24 hospitals serve 80 percent of all families within Best Start communities and more than half of births countywide.

BABYFRIENDLY HOSPITAL INITIATIVE

Recognizing the importance of expanded and extended breastfeeding to the health of a baby, First 5 LA is encouraging hospitals in L.A. County to become Baby-Friendly, a program designed to improve policies and staff skills at birthing hospitals. Studies continue to demonstrate that there are many benefits to breastfeeding that extend beyond the first days of life.

In order to achieve Baby-Friendly designation, the hospital staff must demonstrate its ability to offer mothers the information, skills and support needed to successfully initiate infant bonding and breastfeeding.

First 5 LA has committed $10.5 million to fund up to 20 hospitals in L.A. County to become Baby-Friendly. Earlier this year, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, or PVHMC, became the initial First 5 LA-supported hospital in L.A. County to be designated as a “Baby-Friendly” hospital.

Currently, 19 hospitals including PVHMC have received grants: California Medical Center, San Gabriel Valley Medical Center, St. Mary Medical Center, East L.A. Doctors Hospital, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, White Memorial Medical Center, Valley Presbyterian Hospital, Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro, Garfield Medical Center, Beverly Community Hospital, Greater El Monte Community Hospital, Pacific Alliance Medical Center, Memorial Hospital of Gardena, St. Francis Medical Center, Centinela Medical Center, Citrus Valley Health Partners, Good Samaritan Hospital, Northridge Hospital and Providence St. Joseph Medical Center.

A maternity care facility can be designated as Baby-Friendly when it meets the requirements created by the World Health Organization and adheres to the 10 Steps To Successful Breastfeeding, including helping all mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth, showing mothers how to breastfeed and maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants, giving newborn infants only breastmilk unless medically indicated, practicing rooming-in by allowing mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day, and encouraging unrestricted breastfeeding on cue.

 

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