Memorial Selected to Join Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative

(June 10, 2015) – Memorial University Medical Center (MUMC) was selected to be among the first hospitals in the nation to join the Enhancing Maternity Practices (EMPower) breastfeeding initiative. EMPower Breastfeeding is a hospital-based quality improvement program in which hospitals can earn Baby-Friendly USA© designation for meeting 10 breastfeeding standards established by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. The goal of the program is to increase breastfeeding rates throughout the United States and improve public health.

“The 10 breastfeeding standards include things such as having a written breastfeeding policy, having staff members who can teach new moms how to breastfeed, and teaching all moms about the health benefits of breastfeeding,” said Karen Boyer, MHA, MBA, R.N., vice president of patient care services at Memorial Health. “Our leadership team is committed to this initiative, and we’re pleased to share this important information with new families.

As part of the program, MUMC will receive training materials and coaching for staff in breastfeeding quality initiatives. Hospitals earn Baby-Friendly designation when they complete and implement the 10 steps to successful breastfeeding. It is a three-year program funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity.

“Medical research has proven that breastfeeding provides many health benefits for babies. We’ve also found that babies who breastfeed are less likely to be overweight as children and adolescents. We want new moms to understand these health benefits and receive support if they choose to breastfeed ,” says Lynn Leaphart, M.D., a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Savannah Perinatology Associates.

Memorial University Medical Center is a two-state healthcare organization serving a 35-county area in southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina. The system includes its flagship hospital, a 604-bed academic medical center; Memorial primary and specialty care physician networks; a major medical education program; business and industry services; and NurseOne, a 24-hour call center. You can follow us at facebook.com/memorialhealth, twitter.com/mymemorial, instagram.com/memorial_health, and youtube.com/memorialhealth.