A southern Illinois hospital is taking the steps to become a designated baby-friendly facility.
Memorial Hospital of Carbondale is in the first phase of gaining the baby-friendly designation. Unicef and the World Health Organization developed the program a little over 20-years ago. It encourages the health benefits of breast feeding. The State of Illinois and the Joint Commission also endorse the benefits of breastfeeding.
Dr. Andrea Humphrey is a women's health physician at Memorial. She says breast feeding also increases the bond between mother and child as well as helps reduce the occurrence of infections and allergies.
Lauren Martin just gave birth to her third child, Zoie. She says learning to breast feed with her first was not that difficult. Martin is breast feeding her new daughter and says it is going very well.
Nancy Armstrong is a child-birth educator at Memorial Hospital and helps new moms who want to breast feed. She says there's been a shift in the acceptance of breast feeding over the years. She says when she first started working with new mothers in the 1980's only about 25% would breast feed. Today Armstrong says that number is closer to 75%.
While Memorial Hospital is encouraging breast feeding, hospital officials say they are not doing away with baby formula for those mothers who are unable to breast feed.