St. Luke’s held a special ceremony Wednesday to celebrate its designation as a Baby-Friendly birth facility, a prestigious international award.
Baby-Friendly USA is the authority for implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization 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. Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, the award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.
“We’ve been working towards earning this important designation for more than four years. Making it happen was really a team effort,” said Lori Swanson, St. Luke’s maternal child health nurse manager. “It’s very important to us that all moms know we do everything we can to support them when they come to St. Luke’s Birthing Center to have their babies.”
There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide and 454 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States. The “Baby-Friendly” designation is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed.