St. Luke’s Hospital receives recognition as a Baby-Friendly Birth Facility

St. Luke’s Hospital announces that it has received prestigious international recognition as a designated Baby-Friendly birth facility by Baby-Friendly USA, Inc.

Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a set of guidelines set forth by the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, this designation recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

The Baby Friendly Team celebrates their Baby Friendly designation at St. Luke’s Family Centered Unit in New Bedford

“Ultimately, the facility demonstrates that they have attained the gold standard of maternity practices that support optimal infant nutrition,” said Michelle Murray, a lactation consultant at St. Luke’s Hospital. “At the on-site assessment, the facility must demonstrate to Baby-Friendly USA assessors that they have correctly integrated all of the Ten Steps and the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes into their maternity practices.” 

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). Hospitals must undergo on site assessments by Baby-Friendly USA assessors in order to earn the prestigious designation.

Lisa Beaudry, the tri-site executive director of the family-centered units at Southcoast Health said “I am incredibly proud of the Baby Friendly Task force and our front line nursing staff for their commitment to a five-year baby friendly journey culminating in designation – a true tribute to their dedication to our patients and families.”

The process to become Baby-Friendly compliant began in 2013 and was led by St. Luke’s Baby Friendly Task Force and maternity staff. “This was a team effort with bedside nurses playing an instrumental role in implementing this,” said Kim Pina, nurse manager at St. Luke’s family centered unit.The team also worked closely with various New Bedford community service based organizations such as WIC and the Greater New Bedford Community Health Center.

This is the second Southcoast Health Hospital to receive this designation. Tobey Hospital was designated Baby-Friendly in 2011. There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendlyhospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently there are 546 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States.

About the Baby-Friendly Initiative

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to encourage and recognize hospitals and birth centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding. The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals in giving breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills they need to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies. For more information visit http://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/.