Every family wants to make the best choices for their baby. Deciding how to feed their newborn is a very personal choice for moms. In Colorado, over 90 percent of moms choose to breastfeed. Regardless of whether a mom chooses to breastfeed or formula-feed, she needs support from the very beginning in the hospital.
This is where a Baby-Friendly hospital designation matters so moms, babies, and families have the very best start.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, created by the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and promoted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, supports moms to be successful in whatever their feeding choice may be. Baby-Friendly is research-based and is the only maternity care designation supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Choosing a birthing facility with official designation means the hospital has been verified by Baby-Friendly USA, a third-party accrediting body, to provide the best care.
Baby-Friendly designated hospitals have the highest rates of breastfeeding success, as compared to hospitals that are not designated according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 2017 Vital Records. The rigorous designation process requires hospitals to have policies that are family-friendly and supportive of breastfeeding and follow the highest standards for mom and baby care practices including giving families:
- Support to make the feeding decisions that are right for their family
- Tools, information, and support to meet their breastfeeding or formula-feeding goals including providing access to breast pumps and supplies, formula and feeding supplies.
- The skills and confidence to feed their babies with help from fully trained staff. Nurses complete 20 hours of training in how to support moms and babies with breastfeeding.
- The ability to allow babies and their moms to stay together day and night, known as rooming in, so they can breastfeed as soon as they are ready and have the best chance to get to know each other right away.
Saint Joseph Hospital, Lutheran Medical Center and Good Samaritan Medical Center in the Denver area are designated as Baby-Friendly birthing facilities and 95 percent of babies born at SCL Health hospitals go home successfully breastfeeding. That success can be attributed to many factors including:
- Prenatal breastfeeding class offerings for families.
- Help from certified lactation consultants during the hospital stay.
- Encouragement to enjoy immediate skin-to-skin contact and learn how to care for newborns with rooming-in.
- Assistance after families leave the hospital through breastfeeding and parenting groups, home visits or lactation follow-up visits and breastfeeding helplines.
A Baby-Friendly birthing facility can benefit all families by ensuring the best care and support is received from a birthing facility.
Ensure you are getting a great start for your baby by choosing an officially designated Baby-Friendly hospital which can be found at www.babyfriendlyusa.org.
Tour the SCL Health hospitals in the Denver area to learn more and to see the warm, family-friendly difference that being Baby-Friendly hospital provides at Saint Joseph Hospital, Lutheran Medical Center and Good Samaritan Medical Center.
Karen Rhoades, Registered Nurse, Clinical Coordinator & Certified Lactation Consultant, SCL Health Lutheran Medical Center
Pat Maass, Registered Nurse, Manager & Certified Lactation Counselor, SCL Health Saint Joseph Hospital
Heather Goodall, Registered Nurse, Certified Lactation Consultant, Clinical Manager NICU & Lactation Services, SCL Health Good Samaritan Medical Center