Christiana Hospital has earned Baby-Friendly™ designation from Baby-Friendly, USA, Inc., as part of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative – a global program of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). This designation distinguishes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding, and has been achieved by only 10 percent of birthing facilities in the U.S.
An abundance of scientific evidence points to lower risks for certain diseases and improved health outcomes for both mothers and babies who breastfeed. The international Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative encourages women to breastfeed and acknowledges birthing facilities that become “centers of breastfeeding support.”
“Patient- and family-centered care is a hallmark of our services and the Baby-Friendly designation reflects that commitment,” said David A. Paul, M.D., chair of Pediatrics at Christiana Care and physician lead of the Women and Children’s service line. “Breastfeeding helps babies and their mothers achieve optimal health with reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome, childhood cancers and diabetes for children and decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancer, anemia and osteoporosis for mothers who breastfeed.”
While the Baby-Friendly designation focuses on breastfeeding, it also supports the importance of mother and infant bonding, regardless of feeding method. At Christiana Care, bonding begins immediately following birth, when the labor and delivery nurse gives the baby to the mother to hold on her bare chest, skin-to-skin. This contact helps stabilize the baby’s temperature and blood sugar and stimulates mother-baby bonding.
Baby-Friendly-designated birthing facilities incorporate the internationally recognized Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and comply with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes, both developed by the World Health Organization to increase initiation and duration of breastfeeding.
“Christiana Care is dedicated to supporting breastfeeding moms and babies in every aspect, from education and instruction by experienced nurses and lactation consultants, to our comprehensive Breastfeeding Education and Resource Center and our free breastfeeding support groups,” said Sherry Monson, vice president of Women and Children’s Services. “Our staff works together every day to provide exceptional evidence-based maternity care – which makes our Baby-Friendly designation incredibly meaningful.”
For more information about Christiana Care’s Baby-Friendly initiatives, visit www.christianacare.org/baby.