Baptist Encouraging Breast Feeding To Save Lives

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(Memphis) For the first time, the infant mortality for Shelby County isĀ  below 10 deaths per 1,000 live births.

In 2011, the rate was at 9.6%.

That is a 35% decline from 14.9% in 2003, but it's still higher than the rest of the country.

Some local hospitals are trying to change that.

Hospitals like the MED and Baptist work with a network of nearly 1,000 hospitals worldwide to find out what they are doing in their neonatal units-- to make sure they are doing what is best for the babies.

One of the latest initiatives of Baptist MemorialĀ Hospital for Women is "Baby Friendly," which is all about breast-feeding.

The hospital and it's doctors are trying to encourage all new moms to breast-feed for the health of the baby and mother.

"We are going as far as in our NICU we know that this is the best milk for the baby and if we have a baby that's small and the mom just can't breast feed we will actually go and buy milk for them at a milk bank," said Carol Thetford, Chief Nursing Officer.

Baptist says babies that are breast-fed have fewer ear, and respiratory infections and get other immunities from their mother's milk.

Baptist encourages all mothers to breast-feed through the first year of their baby's life.