Barnes-Jewish Hospital has achieved the Baby-Friendly birth facility designation, an achievement demonstrating the hospital’s commitment to increasing the rates of breastfeeding initiation, exclusivity and duration worldwide. Barnes-Jewish is the only hospital in St. Louis to earn the designation and one of only five in Missouri.
“For mothers who want to breastfeed, her ability to start and to continue feedings is strongly influenced by her experience in the hospital,” says Amy Jolly, RN. “This achievement shows our commitment to fully supporting all moms, babies and families.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breastfeeding begin within one hour of birth. According to the 2011 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of infants who were ever breast-fed is 79.2 nationwide. In Missouri, 67.9 percent of infants were ever breast-fed. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services set new goals and objectives for health promotion and disease prevention called Healthy People 2020. One of those goals is to increase the number of infants who are ever breastfed to 81.9 percent in 2020.
Breastfeeding is proven to be one of the most effective preventative health measures for infants and mothers. “Breast milk is really nature’s perfect food, offering just the right amount of calories, fat content, sugar and immune protection,” says Camaryn Chrisman Robbins, MD, who was an early champion of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. “This commitment to breastfeeding moms has required the support of everyone from hospital leadership to the care teams.”
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program sponsored by the WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers which offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, this international award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.
There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently there are 378 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. The award is maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps as demonstrated by quality processes.
About Barnes-Jewish Hospital
Barnes-Jewish Hospital is a 1,386 bed teaching hospital affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. The hospital has a 1,519 member medical staff, and has been listed on the elite honor roll of best hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 24 consecutive years. Barnes-Jewish is a member of BJC HealthCare, which provides a full range of health care services through its 15 hospitals and more than 100 health care sites in Missouri and Illinois.