SMGS Becoming “Baby- Friendly” Hospital

August 23, 2013

St. Mary’s Hospital SMGS is in the beginning required steps to becoming a “Baby-Friendly” hospital. Baby- Friendly Hospitals is a World Health Organizationinitiative to make hospitals a supportive place for mothers who want to breastfeed. We Choose Health will fund and support local community groups to achieve the Baby Friendly Hospital designation at local hospitals in their area.

The Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in collaboration with IDPH (Illinois Department of Public Health) and the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), is currently engaging 14 hospitals in Illinois in a grant project that provides $11,000 in financial support towards Baby-Friendly designation. The grant funding will be used to support costs associated with the designation. These costs include staff training on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. This type of education has been proven to change hospital practices that impact breastfeeding success resulting in improved breastfeeding rates. Hospitals currently involved in the project represent Jackson, Whiteside, Lee, Henry, Champaign, Stevenson, McLean, Clinton, DeKalb, Winnebago, Bond and Marion counties.

“St. Mary’s Hospital strives to give moms and babies a great start together after birth. The education that our staff will receive as we progress through the Baby Friendly Hospital program will assure that we are providing our babies with the best evidence-based care. The hospital environment should be able to nurture the mother-baby bond and assist parents to give their babies the best start which includes breastfeeding exclusively for as long as possible,” said Pat Baker, Director of Obstetrics at St. Mary’s Hospital.

St. Mary’s Hospital OB staff completed a five-day training seminar on The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding in early July. Each participant went through a 20-hour Baby-Friendly training course and helped with the development of their own training program tailored to fit the needs of the facility. The OB department at St. Mary’s Hospital has completed one out of the four steps, thus far. The process of completing this project will take approximately three years.

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