Dignity Health Methodist Hospital of Sacramento has been designated a baby-friendly hospital by Baby-Friendly USA, Inc., 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 BFHI encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. The Baby-Friendly designation recognizes birth facilities based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, which includes having a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff; informing all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding; helping to initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth; and giving infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
“We are thrilled to be designated a Baby-Friendly hospital,” said Ellen Johnson, Director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Methodist Hospital’s family birth center. “Breast feeding protects your infant through the first year of life. Now that Methodist Hospital fully supports breastfeeding, the health of babies born here will be affected in a positive way.”
There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently there are 459 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States. The Baby Friendly designation is awarded after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. The award is maintained by continuing to practice the ten steps as demonstrated by quality processes.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants should be fed breast milk exclusively for the first six months after birth. Breast milk offers many benefits for the baby. It has disease-fighting cells called antibodies that help protect infants from germs, illness and even SIDS. Children who were breast fed as infants have a reduced risk for childhood cancer, respiratory infections such as asthma, obesity and adult diabetes.
For more information about Methodist Hospital’s family birth center, click here