The prestigious designation was awarded by Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. as part of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. Launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 1991, the global initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.
St. Peter’s Hospital is one of three hospitals in Upstate New York and among 387 hospitals and birth center across the United States to hold the Baby-Friendly designation. In 2015, approximately 2,605 babies were delivered at St. Peter’s Hospital.
“We are so proud to be the first hospital in the Capital Region to receive the Baby-Friendly designation,” said Virginia Golden, chief executive officer of St. Peter’s Hospital and Albany Memorial Hospital. “This international designation is the latest in a series of successes and distinctions which highlight the high-quality, compassionate, and sophisticated care we provide to all of our patients, every day.”
“Congratulations to the physicians, nurses, and the entire Women’s and Children’s Services team at St. Peter’s Hospital, whose hard work and dedication resulted in this prestigious designation,” said John Brosnan, M.D., chief of obstetrics and gynecology at St. Peter’s Hospital. “Being a Baby-Friendly facility truly sets us apart, and is a reflection of our team’s commitment to providing excellent care and a great atmosphere for mothers and their babies.”
“Research shows that breastfeeding is the best way to feed a new baby, providing multiple benefits to both the baby and the mother,” said Carla Barberis-Ryan, MHSA, MSN, RN, NE-BC, director of Women’s and Children’s Services at St. Peter’s Hospital. “This new Baby-Friendly designation reinforces our goal of ensuring every new mother who delivers a baby at St. Peter’s Hospital is given information and support so she can be confident and successful in breastfeeding her baby.”
Becoming a Baby-Friendly facility is a 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, according to Baby-Friendly USA. The Baby-Friendly designation is awarded after a rigorous on-site survey is completed.
The designation is based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, which was developed by a team of global experts and consists of evidence-based practices that have been shown to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration. Baby-Friendly hospitals and birthing facilities must adhere to the Ten Steps to receive a Baby-Friendly designation.
The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding 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 – allow 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.
For more information on Baby Friendly USA, please visit: www.babyfriendlyusa.org
For more information on delivering a baby at St. Peter’s Hospital, please visit: http://www.sphcs.org/WomensHealth