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Press Releases

HHC Queens and Harlem Hospitals Help Break Breastfeeding World Record

Jul 31, 2015

New York, NY

More than 20 mothers from the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation’s (HHC) Queens Hospital Center (QHC) and HHC Harlem Hospital Center participated today in the “2015 Global Big Latch On,” helping to set a new world record for most women breastfeeding simultaneously. The Global Big Latch On, an international synchronized breastfeeding celebration, set a new record of 14,889 children latching simultaneously at 654 locations across 28 countries.
The Big Latch On is held every year to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week and highlight the benefits of breastfeeding to both baby and mother. The world record for most women breastfeeding simultaneously was established during the event in 2013 when 14,536 children latched on simultaneously.
“Queens Hospital Center is now at the forefront of a borough-wide movement recognizing breastfeeding as the best and healthiest start for mothers and babies,” said Chris Constantino, Executive Director of Queens Hospital Center and Senior Vice President of HHC’S Queens Health Network. “There is a significant body of medical evidence confirming the immediate and lifelong health benefits of breastfeeding for the baby, the mother, and the community. It’s our mission to change the culture in Queens with respect to breastfeeding and do all we can to make it a ‘Baby-Friendly’ borough.”
“As a ‘Baby-Friendly’ hospital, Harlem Hospital Center continues its commitment to supporting a mother’s decision to breastfeed, and also to educating new mothers and fathers about the health benefits breastfeeding provides to new parents and their babies,” said Denise C. Soares, Senior Vice President, Generations+/Northern Manhattan Health Network, Executive Director, Harlem Hospital. “Breastfeeding is not always easy, so our staff strives to create an environment where mothers and fathers feel supported and encouraged.”
HHC Queens Hospital Center and HHC Harlem Hospital Center both hold the prestigious designation of “Baby-Friendly” hospital from the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). HHC Harlem Hospital was the first hospital in New York City to be designated and HHC Queens Hospital Center is the only in the borough to be designated. “Baby-Friendly” hospitals offer the highest levels of breastfeeding education and support. After giving birth, mothers and babies maintain 24-hour “rooming in” instead of the traditional nursery setting, have skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth from the Labor & Delivery unit to the hospital’s Post-Partum area, and all new mothers receive exceptional encouragement and assistance from highly trained staff to achieve a successful breastfeeding experience.
“A successful breastfeeding experience for both mother and baby is one of the most important things we can accomplish for the babies born at QHC,” said Marcy Stein Albert, M.D., HHC Queens Director of Pediatrics. “The benefits of breastfeeding extend well beyond infancy and we are very proud of our breastfeeding statistics that have increased exponentially over the past two years. Even after discharge from the hospital, we encourage our new moms to participate in support groups where many experienced breastfeeding moms assist our new moms and provide much needed support. This is without a doubt, one of the most important things new mothers can do for their babies.”
Approximately 1,800 infants are born at QHC annually, and 80 percent of women who give birth at QHC participate in all elements of prenatal breastfeeding education and counseling, including classes on the benefits of breastfeeding, exclusivity of breastfeeding, duration of feeding, the importance of skin-to-skin contact with their infant, and rooming-in together with their baby at the hospital. The percentage of mothers who exclusively fed their babies with breast milk at QHC increased from 12 percent in 2012 to 55 percent in 2014; the volume of baby formula used in the hospital’s post-partum unit decreased by over two-thirds from 2011 to 2014; and in 2014, 96 percent of babies received breast milk while in QHC’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
In 2014 1,100 infants were born at HHC Harlem Hospital with an average breastfeeding initiation rate of 95 percent in 2015. About 80 percent of babies currently receive breast milk in HHC Harlem Hospital’s NICU, and the rate of skin-to-skin initiation after cesarean births increased from 60 percent in 2014 to currently 90 percent.
“This is not only an educational and supportive experience, but an exciting one. We are trying to help break a world record while continuing to raise awareness for breastfeeding and garner support for breastfeeding mothers,” explains Barbara Holmes, IBCLC, Breastfeeding Coordinator at HHC Queens Hospital Center. “We are proud to be an official participant in this special event.”
Parents or future parents seeking more information about obstetrical or breastfeeding services at HHC Queens Hospital Center should call 718-883-4880, and at HHC Harlem Hospital at 212-939-4093.

Contact: Liz Sulik, HHC Queens Hospital Center, 718-883-4854, sulike@nychhc.org
Philip Cooke, HHC Harlem Hospital Center,212-939-1372 , Philip.Cooke@nychhc.org

About NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens

A member of NYC Health + Hospitals, NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens is a major healthcare provider in the borough of Queens. Its foremost mission is to provide quality, comprehensive care to all members of the public regardless of their ability to pay. In 2015 NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens marked its 80th anniversary of serving the communities of central and southeastern Queens, having first opened its doors as Queens General Hospital in 1935. Newly modernized – the result of a four-year, $149 million capital project – the hospital officially reopened its doors to the community in January 2002 with a sprawling state-of-the-art facility. Encompassing 360,000 square feet, it is now comprised of 301 licensed beds, spacious ambulatory care suites featuring both primary and specialty services, and cutting-edge equipment. It also houses four Centers of Excellence in Cancer Care, Diabetes Management, Women’s Health and Behavioral Health. To learn more about NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org/hhc.

About NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem

NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem is a 282-bed hospital that provides a broad array of preventive, primary and acute care services including general medicine and medical subspecialties, general surgery and surgical subspecialties, infectious diseases, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and neonatology; burn and critical care; radiology imaging and nuclear medicine; rehabilitation medicine and physical, speech and occupational therapies; psychiatry and substance abuse services; dental and oral surgery, and emergency adult and pediatric services. We are an Area-Wide Burn Center and Level I Trauma, with Centers of Excellence for Bariatric Surgery, Breast Imaging and Sexual Assault Forensics, a designated Stroke and AIDS Center, a World Health Organization’s UNICEF Designated Baby Friendly Hospital. NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem is a member of the NYC Health + Hospitals health care system. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org/harlem or call (212) 939-1000.

About NYC Health + Hospitals

The NYC Health + Hospitals health care system is a $6.7 billion integrated healthcare delivery system, the largest municipal healthcare organization in the country, and one of the New York area’s largest providers of government-sponsored health insurance, MetroPlusHealth Health Plan, the plan of choice for nearly half a million New Yorkers. The NYC Health + Hospitals health care system serves 1.4 million New Yorkers every year and more than 475,000 are uninsured. The system provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, five skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 70 community based clinics. NYC Health + Hospitals/Home Care also provides in-home services for New Yorkers. The NYC Health + Hospitals system was the 2008 recipient of the National Quality Forum and The Joint Commission’s John M. Eisenberg Award for Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org or find us on https://www.facebook.com/NYCHealthSystem or twitter.com/NYCHealthSystem.