St. Jude Recognized for Optimal Care to Mothers and Babies

St. Jude Medical Center has once again earned accreditation as a Baby-Friendly Hospital, an honor recognizing hospitals and birthing centers that provide optimum, evidence-based care to mothers and babies.

To qualify as “Baby-Friendly,” a facility must demonstrate national best practices that offer infants the best start in life by creating an environment where breastfeeding is made easy and immediate mother-baby contact is the norm.

Nearly 420 of the country’s more than 3000 hospitals and birthing centers have qualified for this accreditation, which is part of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

St. Jude Medical Center received its first accreditation in 2011 and its reaccreditation in 2016, each time demonstrating that new mothers receive the information and support they need to create the healthiest beginning for their baby, through strong mother-infant bonding and greater confidence in breastfeeding their newborn.

More than two decades of research has established numerous advantages to breastfeeding for both mother and baby. Breast-milk contains antibodies and enzymes that reduce a baby’s risk of ear infections, pneumonia, allergies, diabetes and obesity. For women, breastfeeding decreases the risk of ovarian and breast cancers as well as postpartum depression and diabetes.

This prestigious recognition highlights a hospital-wide commitment to our patients’ health that begins at birth and extends through their entire life,” explains Dawn Hernandez, MSN, RN, NE-BC, RNC-OB, C-EFM, PHN, Director, Maternal-Newborn Services.

Baby-Friendly designation is granted after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. The evidence-based practices designated hospitals and facilities must demonstrate range from helping mother initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth, to providing breastfeeding support groups after discharge.

“For many years in the U.S., mothers were directly and indirectly encouraged to feed their babies formula and those mothers who wanted to breastfeed oftenfaced obstacles,” explains Dawn. “Our nurses, physicians and breastfeeding specialists are proud to be leaders in giving women the support they need to make the best decision for themselves and their baby.”

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