Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare recently earned redesignation as a Baby-Friendly birth facility. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund to recognize hospitals and birthing centers that provide comprehensive care for breast-feeding mothers and their babies through implementation of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.
Since its original designation in 2008, Family Birthplace staff has engaged in ongoing efforts, including an annual quality improvement project, to ensure that the standards of care are maintained.
“The Baby Friendly designation indicates that we provide evidence-based maternity care with the goal of achieving successful infant feeding outcomes and promoting mother/baby bonding,” says Bonny Young, RN, director of the Family Birthplace.” Franciscan Healthcare was the sixth hospital in Wisconsin and the 70th nationally to be designated as Baby-Friendly.
The American Academy of Pediatrics identifies breast-feeding as the ideal method of feeding and nurturing infants and recognizes breast-feeding as primary in achieving optimal infant and child health, growth and development.
“When parents decide to breast-feed, Franciscan Healthcare staff is able to competently and compassionately provide information, encouragement, support and assistance before, during and after the birth of the baby,” said Beth Padesky, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in the Family Birthplace.
Many of the registered nurses in the Family Birthplace have received special education and training in lactation support and counseling. In addition, International Board Certified Lactation Consultants provide care for families in the Family Birthplace and in the clinic through the Department of Pediatrics.
“The Baby-Friendly initiative has enhanced our culture, education and practice standards and has made us better able to serve all of our families,” says Young.
The Ten Steps to Successful Breast-feeding are:
1. Maintain a written breast-feeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breast-feeding.
4. Help mothers initiate breast-feeding within one hour of birth.
5. Show mothers how to breast-feed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
6. Give infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
7. Practice “rooming in” – allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
8. Encourage unrestricted breast-feeding.
9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breast-feeding infants.
10. Foster the establishment of breast-feeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.