Baby-Friendly USA has recognized Community Memorial Hospital with the prestigious international recognition as a Designated Baby-Friendly birth facility, a designation given only to those hospitals and birth centers that meet rigorous criteria to encourage breastfeeding.
Based in Albany, New York, Baby-Friendly USA, Inc is the United States authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund.
CMH worked for over two years through various hospital committees to meet all the criteria and create a breastfeeding-friendly environment, said Megan Rodarte, director of Maternal Child Health Services at CMH.
“It’s not about forcing all moms to breastfeed. We recognize some can’t or there is a medical need for formula. It’s about creating an environment and supporting practices that have been shown to increase breastfeeding exclusivity and duration, and to give those moms who choose to breastfeed the best chances of success.” Rodarte said.
Rodarte noted that if a new mom chooses to use baby formula, CMH staff also makes sure the new mom knows how to bottle feed safely.
The international award is based on the “Ten Steps To Successful Breastfeeding,” a challenging set of criteria designed to set the standards for the best possible breastfeeding support for mothers and infants in the maternity setting. The Ten Steps are:
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
- Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
- Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
- Give infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
- Practice “rooming in” or allowing mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
- Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center.
CMH is one of 530 Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the U.S and over 20,000 worldwide.
Learn more about the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative at www.babyfriendlyusa.org