EFFINGHAM – Baby-Friendly USA recently announced that HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital has received prestigious international recognition as a Designated Baby-Friendly birth facility.
Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the U.S. authority for the implementation of 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 centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.
“We are excited to receive this recognition,” said Ashley Vincent, manager of women and infant services and pediatrics at HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital. “Being named a Baby-Friendly hospital means we use the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding to provide mothers with the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.”
The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding are:
1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
2. Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
6. Give infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated.
7. Practice rooming in – allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center.
“While all new mothers at St. Anthony’s are free to decide how best to feed their babies, we believe breastfeeding whenever possible is a healthier option for mothers and infants,” said Vincent. “Our goal is to encourage and assist new mothers to breastfeed their babies,”
There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently there are 581 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States. The “Baby-Friendly” re-designation is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. The award is maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps as demonstrated by quality processes.
To learn more about how St. Anthony’s provides exceptional care to mothers and babies at their Women and Infant Center, visit stanthonyshospital.org/baby
HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital is part of the Southern Illinois Division of Hospital Sisters Health System, which also includes HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese, HSHS Holy Family Hospital in Greenville and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland.