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A Baby Friendly birthing center is a facility that promotes, protects and supports lactation by implementing a series of ten steps outlined by WHO and UNICEF for successful breastfeeding in hospitals. The recommendations include maintaining a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff; inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding; help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth; and foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital.
“This recognition shows the ongoing commitment of our physicians and staff to encourage breastfeeding as the best source of nutrition for babies,” says Eve Dunaway, Lactation Consultant at Woodland Memorial Hospital. “For mothers, breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer. Breastfeeding improves bone density and promotes healthy weight loss after delivery. Babies that are breastfeeding have less risk of asthma, colic, food allergy, eczema, diarrhea, urinary tract, respiratory and ear infections. By encouraging breastfeeding, we can have decreased numbers of obese children later in life, and the diseases associated with obesity. Breastfeeding promotes a special relationship between a mother and baby, a closeness that comes with time and touch, a bond that lasts forever.”
Woodland Memorial Hospital was first certified in 2010, as the 97th hospital in the United States to receive this recognition. Currently, there are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide, with 305active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States. The “Baby-Friendly” re-designation is given after a rigorous survey is completed. The award is maintained by continuing to practice the ten steps as demonstrated by quality processes.
“We are thrilled to be re-designated as Baby Friendly Hospital,” said Anna Enriquez, RN, MSN, Director Woodland Memorial Family Birth Center. “Here at Woodland Memorial, we pride ourselves on providing the very best care possible to mothers and babies. From our private family-centered birthing suites, to our comprehensive lactation services, to our extensive birthing support and pain relief options, we are committed to helping our patients experience the best birth possible.”