Photo Friday: Baby Friendly, at the Center for Total Health

How can this not be this week’s photo 🙂

The Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health is excited to be joining the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy :: The Trail Modeling and Assessment Platform (T-MAP), which includes a sensor network all over Washington, DC. You can read more about that here: Tracking the trail: Sensors on Mount Vernon path collect data to aid transportation planning – The Washington Post. Think of it this way – we measure car traffic all the time on our roads. We don’t measure pedestrian traffic on our trails and sidewalks. That’s what this is going to do. Our sensor, manufactured by the french company, Eco-Counter, is being built in France and will be installed in the next few months.

Being Baby Friendly

…and this is why we love the Center for Total Health, because while talking about trail sensor networks, we also talk about breastfeeding, one of the healthiest activities that humans can engage in. Tracy Hadden-Loh, PhD, is the Research Director for the famed Rails-To-Trails Conservancy brought baby Mayzie, who, in addition to showing us her incredible head control (above), is also breast fed. Tracy told us how important her hospital experience and ongoing lactation consultation has been in ensuring a healthy start for Mayzie. A lot of things need to come together in the hospital setting for a new mom-baby for this to be successful, and Tracy told us this was the case where she delivered, in Washington, DC.

Unfortunately, this is not the norm, and the data is sobering, and sad:

Currently, 200 U.S. hospitals and birthing centers in 45 states and the District of Columbia hold the Baby-Friendly designation. Every hospital that attains the Baby-Friendly designation moves us closer to meeting important public health goals of increasing the proportion of live births that occur in facilities that provide recommended care for lactating mothers and their babies. In 2007, only 2.9% of United States births occurred in Baby-Friendly designated facilities. Currently, 8.4% of births occur in Baby-Friendly designated facilities. The Healthy People 2020 goal is 8.1%.

Only one hospital in Washington, DC holds the baby-friendly designation (Medstar-Georgetown). All Kaiser Permanente hospitals hold it. Group Health Cooperative holds it. The Baby-Friendly USA web site lists the 10 steps that a facility must follow to be designated Baby-Friendly. Baby-Friendly is a designation based on a global initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) – it is the gold standard.

By the way, one of the 10 steps, allowing mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day, was pioneered in the most innovative way in 1953, in Kaiser Permanente’s “Dream Hospital” -> Photo Friday: Born to be a Leader (beginning with being baby in a drawer) | Ted Eytan, MD. You have to see the pictures.

Based on the 10 steps, the Center for Total Health is baby friendly, too. We plan to stay that way.

Ted Eytan, MD