SJH Breese Journeys Toward Baby-Friendly Designation

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Focused on providing the absolute best care for mothers and their newborns, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital – Breese is currently working toward the highly-regarded “Baby-Friendly” designation.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program that was launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 1991 to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding.

It recognizes and awards birthing facilities who successfully implement the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” and the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. The BFHI assists hospitals in giving all mothers the information, confidence, and skills necessary to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies or feeding formula safely, and gives special recognition to hospitals that have done so.

The “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” are endorsed and promoted by the major maternal and child health authorities in the United States, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Surgeon General.

The steps are:

1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.

2. Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.

3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.

4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.

5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.

6. Give infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated.

7. Practice rooming in – allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.

8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.

9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.

10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center.

Becoming a Baby-Friendly facility is a multi-year, comprehensive, detailed and thorough journey toward excellence in providing evidence-based, maternity care with the goal of achieving optimal infant feeding outcomes and mother/baby bonding. It compels facilities to examine, challenge and modify longstanding policies and procedures, and requires training and skill building among all levels of staff.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, breastfeeding offers benefits to both the infant and the mother. Because human milk is naturally conducive to the needs of human babies, breast fed babies have increased immunity, protection against developing allergies, improved mental development, protections against obesity and a lower risk of SIDS. In mothers, breastfeeding can improve heart health, reduce stress levels and the risk of postpartum depression, and may reduce the risk of breast cancer.

St. Joseph’s Hospital offers extensive prenatal care services, and critical care for special maternity situations. A total of 583 babies were delivered in the Women and Infants Center last year, and that number is expected to continue to grow in 2016 and beyond. For more information, contact Women & Infants Center Director Tiffany Meyer at (618) 526-5464 or by email at tiffany.meyer@hshs.org.

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