Riverside Community Hospital Honored as Baby Friendly

Mother Baby Unit AM

Riverside Community Hospital has received international recognition as a Baby-Friendly birth facility by Baby-Friendly USA.

The national authority for Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, Baby-Friendly USA, recognizes hospitals that provide a high level of care and that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills to begin and continue breastfeeding their babies.

The designation followed an on-site survey involving nurses and physicians. Baby-Friendly, a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund, is a five-year designation maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps to Successful Breast-feeding for Hospitals. The award is maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps.

There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. Riverside Community Hospital is one out of 143 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States and the first HCA hospital to achieve this designation.

The hospital supports breast-feeding through The Ten Steps to Successful Breast-feeding for Hospitals, as outlined by UNICEF and WHO. The steps include following a policy that is routinely communicated, educating expectant mothers about breast-feeding, helping initiate breast-feeding within one hour of birth and teaching women how to maintain lactation.

The Ten Steps encourage breastfeeding on demand and “rooming in” – to allow mothers and babies to remain together, as well as referring mothers to breast-feeding support upon discharge. Unless medically indicated, no food, drink (other than breast milk) or artificial nipples are to be given to breast-feeding infants.

“Our attainment of baby-friendly status shows the dedication of our physicians and maternal child staff to provide evidence based, highest quality standard of care for our community,” said Debra Otwell, director of Women’s and Children’s Services.

The hospital offers free comprehensive education to mothers throughout the phases of pregnancy, childbirth and post-partum. These include breastfeeding, childbirth preparation, and infant care support.

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