A new “Baby-Friendly” hospital is born as MedStar Georgetown University Hospital joins an elite group of birth facilities to obtain “Baby-Friendly” designation. MedStar Georgetown is the first hospital in the DC Metro area to receive this coveted award.
Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the accrediting body in the United States for 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 facilities that provide an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.
“This important designation is indicative of our staff’s outstanding commitment to new mothers and their babies here at MedStar Georgetown,” said Richard Goldberg, MD, president of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. “The combined expertise and dedication of our staff in Labor and Delivery, Postpartum, Neonatology and Parenting and Lactation Services helps us put our smallest patients first.”
The prestigious “Baby-Friendly” award is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. Facilities must ultimately demonstrate that they have correctly integrated all of the “Ten Steps To Successful Breastfeeding” into their practice for healthy newborns. Georgetown scored 100 percent on seven out of the ten steps and at least 90 percent on the remaining three steps.
“We are thrilled to have received this award from Baby-Friendly USA. It’s an incredibly valuable distinction,” said Carol Ryan, MSN, RN, IBCLC, FILCA, clinical manager, Perinatal Education and Lactation Services. “It boils down to public health—increasing the health of our women and our children. But no matter how women choose to feed their babies, we give everyone 100 percent of our professional care.”
According to Ryan, breastfeeding is associated with a number of health benefits for both mom and baby. These include reduced rates of allergies and respiratory infections among infants as well as fewer cases of childhood diabetes. Long term health benefits among women include lower rates of cervical, breast and ovarian cancers, osteoporosis and postpartum depression.
“We are so pleased that residents who work and reside in the capitol of our country can now give birth in a Baby-Friendly hospital,” said Liz Westwater MSM, CLC, project manager for Baby-Friendly USA.
According to the journal Pediatrics, increased Baby-Friendly hospital practices, particularly giving only breast milk in the hospital, might help more mothers achieve their exclusive breastfeeding intentions. Two-thirds of mothers who intend to exclusively breastfeed are not meeting their intended duration.
Currently there are 127 Baby-Friendly hospitals out of an estimated 31,000 birthing facilities in the United States. Approximately five percent of all births in the U.S. occur in a Baby-Friendly hospital.
Media Contact: Meggie Davis
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