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Baby-Friendly Designation


We’re Baby-Friendly®

Memorial Hospital and Mercy Hospital Southwest are designated Baby-Friendly Hospitals. These designations were awarded from Baby-Friendly USA and represent the highest accreditation for birth centers.

Baby-Friendly hospitals are recognized worldwide for superb infant bonding and breastfeeding practices in their birthing units. Memorial Hospital and Mercy Hospital Southwest have implemented all of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and have met all requirements of purchasing breast milk substitutes.

These two Dignity Health Bakersfield facilities are the only Kern County hospitals to receive Baby Friendly® accreditation. Mercy and Memorial Hospitals support and protect breastfeeding, and promote mother/baby bonding immediately after birth and throughout each facility, 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.

The baby is not the only one to receive benefits from breastfeeding. For mothers, benefits include: 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.