N.J. health department moves to encourage breast-feeding
New Jersey's Department of Health is proposing new guidelines for hospitals to encourage and support breast-feeding.
About one-third of New Jersey moms breast-fed exclusively for the first three months of their baby's life, according to national statistics, and the goal is to increase that number of breast feeding moms.
Health commissioner Mary O'Dowd says research shows that breast-feeding benefits the health of infants and mothers. She says the guidelines would ensure that all new Jersey hospitals with maternity wards are on the same page when it comes to breast-feeding.
"For example, they have to work together to train all the practitioners and nurses that treat both the mother and the baby," explained O'Dowd. "They need to have policies in place to help support mothers and babies through education and support services."
O'Dowd says under the new guidelines, hospitals also would be required to have support staff to help mothers who are having a tough time breast-feeding.