Contact: Rebecca Green
Baby-Friendly USA recently announced that CGH Medical Center has received the prestigious designation as a Baby-Friendly birth facility as part of the Baby Friendly Hospitals Initiative. Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, this international award is only given after a rigorous on-site survey, and recognizes birthing facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate breastfeeding (within one hour of birth) and continue to breastfeed upon discharge from the hospital.
CGH Medical Center has been working towards this designation since 2013, when the hospital and clinic staff began to make major practice changes that collectively support pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
“We are very proud to have achieved this Baby-Friendly Designation,” said Jennifer Behrens, RN, CGH Birthing Center Assistant Manager. “Achieving the designation was a difficult process. It required education not only for anyone who cares for newborns, but also for those that care for pregnant or breastfeeding women. This included all hospital OB nurses, clinic nurses and medical assistants in OB, Pediatrics, and Family Practice. We also set up a program to educate patients prenatally on the benefits of breastfeeding, rooming in, and skin-to-skin contact after delivery, and we partnered with WIC in both Whiteside and Lee counties during the process to help ensure everyone is communicating the same message.”
As part of this designation, CGH Medical Center will need to adhere to the Baby-Friendly USA’s Ten Steps and will report on its quality processes annually. The aim is to improve – through optimal feeding – the nutritional status, growth and development as well as the survival of infants and young children.
“Breast milk is the natural first food for babies, providing just the right amount of calories, fat content, sugar, antibodies and immune protection that infants need for the first months of life,” continued Behrens. “This commitment to breastfeeding moms has required the support of everyone from hospital leadership to our staff.”
Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The initiative holds hospitals and birthing centers accountable to the highest standards for mother/baby care practices related to infant feeding. There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendlyhospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently there are 574 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States.
The CGH Birthing Center welcomes approximately 550 babies into the world every year. The facility features high-tech equipment and skilled professionals along with 10 private and spacious maternity suites. Special services provided by the CGH Birthing Center include free prenatal and breastfeeding classes, free weekly support meetings and 24-hour epidural anesthesia.
For more information please call the CGH Birthing Center at 815-625-0400, ext. 5504, or visit www.babyfriendlyusa.org.