Charlton Memorial Hospital receives prestigious international recognition as a Baby-Friendly Birth Facility by Baby-Friendly USA, Inc.

Keith Hovan, chief executive officer for Southcoast Health, congratulates Baby Friendly taskforce, Charlton Memorial Hospital’s family centered unit nurses and staff, Fall River community partner, WIC, and lactation specialist at Charlton Memorial Hospital for receiving recognition as a designated Baby-Friendly birth facility by Baby-Friendly USA, Inc.

Charlton Memorial Hospital announced on April 17 that it has received prestigious international recognition as a designated Baby-Friendly birth facility by Baby-Friendly USA, Inc.

This designation at Charlton Memorial makes Southcoast Health an entirely Baby Friendly system. Tobey Hospital received Baby Friendly designation in 2011 and St. Luke’s Hospital in 2018.

“Baby Friendly designation is a very special accomplishment that we are all very proud of for many reasons. It is a special designation, first and foremost, as it is the very best way to treat, educate, and support our families,” said Jennifer Bloom, nurse manager of the family centered unit at Charlton Memorial Hospital. “Baby Friendly USA practices at Southcoast ensure that moms and babies receive the best possible care and promotes their best possible health.”

Baby Friendly USA designation facilities offer breast feeding education before, during and after child birth. Designated facilities promote and practice policies such as optimal early bonding care via skin to skin contact with mother and baby immediately after childbirth and keeping babies in room to help prepare parents for going home.

“This was a five-year journey for our unit. There were a lot of practice changes and change is always difficult at first,” said Terri Martin, RN, lactation consultant at Charlton Memorial’s family centered unit. “The nurses on this unit were really the backbone of our success in obtaining this accreditation. Their dedication to provide continued support to our families was evident during this process.”

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.

There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently there are 569 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States.