Baby-Friendly USA announced November 2 that Memorial Health has received prestigious international recognition as a Baby-Friendly Designated birth facility. Baby-Friendly USA Inc., is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Based on the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding,” this international award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.
“We’ve worked tirelessly over the last two and a half years to reach this milestone,” says Carla Edwards, R.N., executive director of Memorial Health for Women. “Ultimately, it means better care for our mothers and babies and the best start for families.”
There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide and 466 active Baby-Friendly facilities in the U.S. The “Baby-Friendly” designation is given after a rigorous onsite survey is completed. The award is maintained by continuing to practice the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” as demonstrated by quality processes.
“As a Baby-Friendly Hospital, we want to help families get off to the best start,” says Holly McSpadden, IBCLC, senior lactation consultant at Memorial. “We do that by giving moms skin-to-skin bonding time with their babies, helping them make informed decisions about infant feeding, and keeping moms and babies together in the same hospital room.”
Memorial began its Baby-Friendly journey in 2015 when it became one of the first hospitals in the nation to join the Enhancing Maternity Practices (EMPower) breastfeeding initiative. EMPower provided assistance and guidance in order to earn Baby-Friendly designation.