SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (October 12, 2023) – Baby Friendly USA has re-designated Dignity Health Dominican Hospital as a Baby-Friendly Hospital. The Baby-Friendly re-designation is awarded to hospitals demonstrating a strong commitment to excellence in breastfeeding education and support.
The designation is based on global criteria developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI)—challenging criteria designed to set the standards for the best possible breastfeeding support for mother and infant in the maternity setting.
“We are extremely proud to be recognized as a Baby-Friendly designated hospital,” said Dominican Hospital President Nanette Mickiewicz, MD. “We have continually achieved this honor since 2012, which reflects our Birth Center’s commitment to providing the support, education and resources moms need to successfully initiate breastfeeding and continue breastfeeding when they leave our care.”
Breastfeeding classes for expectant parents as well as breastfeeding support following birth are offered at Dominican Hospital through International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs), who are on-site daily to provide teaching and counsel. As part of the Baby-Friendly initiative, newborns are immediately placed skin-to-skin on their mothers after birth to bond and make their first feeding attempts. They also stay in the same room with their parents throughout their time in the hospital.
Research shows that by offering breastfeeding services in conjunction with Baby Friendly Hospital practices, designated hospitals succeed in promoting, protecting, and supporting breastfeeding. Mothers delivering at a Baby Friendly Hospital tend to breastfeed longer than mothers delivering at other hospitals.
In 2007, less than 3% of United States births occurred in approximately 60 Baby-Friendly designated facilities. In 2022, those numbers rose to 27% of births in more than 600 Baby-Friendly designated facilities, and they continue to rise. Baby-Friendly hospitals and birthing centers can be found in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
To learn more about Dominican Hospital’s breastfeeding support services, visit dignityhealth.org/dominicanbirthcenter.
About Dominican Hospital
Dignity Health Dominican Hospital has been caring for the Santa Cruz County community for generations. Dominican offers emergency services and is a Certified Stroke Center. Dominican’s services include the only comprehensive Cancer Center in Santa Cruz County, a Total Joint Replacement program, advanced neurological and endoscopic services, and an expert heart and vascular team treating some of the most complex cardiac cases in the Monterey Bay area.
Dominican Hospital offers a comprehensive, Baby Friendly-designated Birth Center, and provides an on-site Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) through a partnership with Stanford Children’s Health. Dominican has received national recognition for superior patient safety, cardiac care, and stroke treatment from Healthgrades, a leading provider of comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. Dominican also has received several awards for environmental excellence. Dominican Hospital is planning a $360 million seismic update and modernization project to ensure that the growing Santa Cruz County community can access world class health care well into the future. The project will allow for advanced technology, new state-of-the-art facilities, and even more innovative healing spaces. To learn more about Dominican Hospital, please visit dignityhealth.org/dominican.
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