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Baby-Friendly Designation


Mercy Hospital Southwest has been designated a Baby-Friendly Hospital, the highest accreditation for birth centers.

Mercy Hospital is excited to announce they have achieved Baby-Friendly®  designation from Baby-Friendly USA. Baby-Friendly hospitals are recognized worldwide for being the gold standard concerning infant bonding and breastfeeding practices in their birthing units. Mercy Hospital Southwest has implemented all of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and has met all requirements of purchasing breast milk substitutes. 

Mercy Hospital joins Memorial Hospital as the only Kern County hospitals to receive the Baby Friendly® accreditation. Mercy supports and protects breastfeeding, and promotes mother/baby bonding immediately after birth and throughout the entire hospital space, regardless of the delivery method.  

Studies show links between breastfeeding and improved health in children; higher IQs, reduced trips to the pediatrician, fewer ear infections, higher immunity, and reduced risk for diabetes. Baby is not the only one to receive benefits from breastfeeding, for mom; reduced risk of postpartum depression, reduced risk of post-delivery bleeding complications, reduced risk of ovarian cancer, and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently there are 375 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States. The “Baby-Friendly” designation is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. The award is maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps as demonstrated by quality processes.

Baby-Friendly USA, Inc is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (“BFHI”), 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 prestigious international award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.