Palmetto Health Baptist has been recognized as a Baby-Friendly designated birth facility by Baby-Friendly, USA, Inc., the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. Currently there are 496 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States. Palmetto Health Baptist is one of only 13 Baby-Friendly designated birth facilities in South Carolina. The “Baby-Friendly” designation is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. Palmetto Health Richland and Palmetto Health Tuomey also are Baby-Friendly designated birth facilities.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund. The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer optimal care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, this award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.
Celena Bearden, nursing director of Women’s and Neonatal Services for Palmetto Health Baptist, said, “We are so proud of this accomplishment. Our team has worked extremely hard to accomplish this designation so mothers and babies will have the best start. By educating our patients at the beginning of their pregnancy and throughout, we are able to prepare them for what to expect instead of overloading them at the time of the delivery. Our moms are discharged with an understanding of their baby and their specific needs. For our team, this is an honor and is worth every bit of hard work.”
Part of the Baby-Friendly designation is that facilities must adhere to and retain the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.” Developed by a team of global experts and consisting of evidence-based practices that have been shown to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration, the Ten Steps to successful breastfeeding include:
- 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 to 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 about Palmetto Health, visit PalmettoHealth.org.