BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Woman's Hospital employees are celebrating a global recognition. The hospital is now the 500th hospital in the world to reach Baby-Friendly status. The achievement recognizes the hospital for providing optimal maternity care and breastfeeding practices.
While it's not the first hospital in Louisiana to be named Baby-Friendly, Woman's is the largest birthing facility in Louisiana to reach this achievement.
"We are so proud to have achieved Baby-Friendly designation," said Cheri Johnson, vice president of perinatal services. "This achievement is the result of more than 8,000 hours of initial staff education, policy changes, and patient education as well as a rigorous on-site survey, and it demonstrates Woman's commitment to continually improving the health of women and infants."
The hospital started the process to become Baby-Friendly in 2015. Nursing documentation, patient care standards, and physician orders were also reviewed, revised, and implemented to support Baby-Friendly practices.
Woman's has made significant changes to encourage breastfeeding. Their research shows breast milk provides health advantages beginning at birth and continuing over a lifetime.
INFANT'S BENEFITS TO BREASTFEEDING:
- stronger immune system
- fewer respiratory illnesses, ear infections, gastrointestinal issues
MOTHER'S BENEFITS TO BREASTFEEDING:
- weight loss occurs more rapidly
- may reduce incidents of certain types of cancer
Another example of policy change is Woman's Magic Hour initiative, which encourages a new mom to hold her baby immediately after delivery for continuous and uninterrupted bonding time. During Magic Hour, non-essential procedures such as weighing the baby are delayed. Skin-to-skin contact is important because it facilitates the initiation of breastfeeding.
Woman's is also dedicated to patient education. All materials, from booklets to brochures, to advertisements to web pages, have been revised to support Baby-Friendly best practices.
BABY-FRIENDLY BEST PRACTICES:
- no pacifiers
- no food or drink other than breast milk (unless medically indicated)
- establish artificial bottle nipples and pacifiers while breastfeeding
Woman's offers many additional breastfeeding resources, including board-certified lactation consultants. Nurses also help women through prenatal classes, post-discharge consultations, and a 24/7 "Warmline" to answer breastfeeding questions.
Woman's new smartphone app features a breastfeeding tracker to help mothers successfully breastfeed. Woman's will soon launch virtual breastfeeding appointments through the app.
A Baby-Friendly designation is part of a program from the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). You can learn more about the Baby-Friendly designation online.
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