New Baby Friendly room opens at KGH
Space to make breastfeeding easier for families on the go
A new space here at KGH is now open for parents who need to feed their babies while in the hospital. KGH’s new Baby Friendly room is part of our effort to become accredited by the World Health Organization as a Baby Friendly hospital. We would be the first hospital of our kind in Ontario to receive such a designation.
The international Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is aimed at increasing the number of babies who are breastfed for the first six months of their life by encouraging parents and offering them spaces to feed their babies while they are away from home.
Studies have shown that there are many health benefits for babies who are breastfed. For example, breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from serious illnesses, including gastroenteritis, asthma, eczema, and respiratory and ear infections.
However, aside from those clear health benefits, there are other reasons KGH is aiming to become a BFHI accredited organization.
“As a hospital that is committed to patient- and family-centred care, we really want to put the pieces in place that support parents when they are at KGH,” says Marcia McFarlane, Supervisor in the Maternal/Child program. “At the same time we recognize that not everyone can or wants to breastfeed, so the new room also provides a quiet place for parents to bottle-feed their babies.”
The new room, which is located beside the security office inside the main entrance on Kidd 1, includes comfortable chairs, a breast pump as well as a sink and kitchenette to wash up. A washroom is also located right around the corner and includes a changing table.
“Our goal when developing this space was to present parents with choices while they are here,” says McFarlane. “If they are comfortable breastfeeding in a public space such as the cafeteria, they are welcome to do so. However, if they want a more private spot, this room is here for them.”
While not currently a mandatory program in Ontario, the baby friendly hospital initiative is supported by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
“It is a mandatory program in other provinces and we expect it to be mandated here in Ontario in the future. We have chosen to move ahead now and become one of the first hospitals in the province to do so,” says McFarlane.
The room is only one piece of many changes that KGH will need to put in place to receive its BFHI accreditation. Soon, the team responsible for the initiative will be rolling out new policies and education modules to ensure we are always adopting best practices.
“This baby friendly initiative, when combined with other work, such our focus on skin-to-skin contact for parents and babies and our 24 hour rooming-in policy, demonstrate our commitment to creating an environment that is supportive to parents and their children,” says McFarlane. “We hope that this work will help us achieve our BFHI status sometime in the next few years.”