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Steps to earn label of Baby-Friendly USA
Many hospitals in the United States have chosen to be designated as Baby-Friendly USA, even though it isn't an easy task to obtain this designation. The hospitals featured in this month's cover article have the designation or are obtaining it.
To achieve the Baby-Friendly Designation, health care facilities must register with Baby-Friendly USA, in East Sandwich, MA, complete all the requirements, and demonstrate they have integrated all "10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding" into their practice. The 10 steps are evaluated during an on-site assessment. The designation must be renewed every five years. Also, facilities must undertake annual quality assurance/improvement projects assigned by Baby-Friendly USA.
Baby-Friendly USA is the nonprofit organization that implements the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in the United States. BFHI is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund.
Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee, CA, was designated Baby-Friendly USA in August 2010. It took two and one-half years to reach the goal, according to Cynthia Bansen, RN, IBCLC, RLC, a lactation specialist in the obstetrics department at the hospital who chaired the multi-disciplinary committee that guided the process.
Boston Medical Center became Baby-Friendly more than a decade ago. "At that time there was much more of a debate about what breastfeeding benefits there were," says Genevieve Preer, MD, a pediatrician in the Division of Ambulatory Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center.
Many health care facilities are adopting the Baby-Friendly practices without applying for the designation, Preer says. Breastfeeding is gaining much support. The Joint Commission created perinatal core measures that include requirements for exclusive breastfeeding, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, began collecting data. "As breastfeeding becomes best practice, more facilities will have Baby-Friendly practices," says Preer.
For more information on best practice for breastfeeding, contact:
Baby-Friendly USA, 327 Quaker Meeting House Road, East Sandwich, MA 02537. Web: www.babyfriendlyusa.org.
Centers for Disease Control breastfeeding data and statistics: Web: www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/data/reportcard.htm.
The Joint Commission Perinatal Core Measures. Web: www.jointcommission.org/perinatal_care.