Toss out the pacifier, get rid of the bottles. That is the message the state of Maryland wants hospitals to send to new parents. The state wants to increase breast feeding to take advantage of health benefits for babies.
Little Harrison is just one day old. His parents, Chris Dowd and Nikki Beauchamp, had heard some stories about breastfeeding.
"I had heard that it hurts. I had heard that it was easy. I had heard that it was the most unnatural, natural thing you could ever do," says Beauchamp.
Now, to increase breastfeeding, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is asking hospitals around the state to voluntarily commit to a list of ten recommendations. They're similar to the World Health Organization's Baby-Friendly certification.
Frances Phillips is Maryland's Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services. "Evidence shows that these ten steps make a difference," says Phillips.
Shady Grove Adventist Hospital is embracing the recommendations.
Most of the suggestions center on training and education. One encourages what's called "rooming in" - mom and baby together 24/7. Experts say the first hour is key.
"He came out and they plopped him right on my chest. Chris cut the cord and he was breastfeeding within 15 minutes," says Beauchamp.
Breastfeeding has documented health benefits. The message - it's not always easy, but it is worth it.
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