CentraState named ‘Baby-Friendly’ hospital by international organization

CentraState Medical Center recently received international recognition as a “Baby-Friendly” hospital by Baby-Friendly, USA. Baby Friendly, USA is the accrediting body in the United States for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) program created by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) that recognizes hospitals that promote and support breastfeeding by implementing appropriate policies, practices and staff education. The Baby-Friendly designation is the globally recognized symbol of world-class maternity care, and only 134 hospitals and birthing centers in the United States have received this designation.

CentraState Medical Center earned the Baby-Friendly status only after making significant policy changes and quality improvement projects, training staff, and completing a rigorous on-site survey demonstrating that it correctly integrated all of the BFHI’s “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” into its practice for healthy mothers and newborns. The steps include having a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff, informing all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding, helping mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth, and practicing “rooming in” — allowing mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.

“We are extremely proud of the Baby-Friendly designation and we embrace our newly adopted policies and procedures for maternity care,” says Dawn Kline, director, Maternal Child Health, CentraState Healthcare System. “At CentraState Medical Center, our goal is to educate all new moms on optimal nutrition and bonding with their baby. Our lengthy journey to achieve this status demonstrates our unwavering commitment to improving health outcomes for both new moms and their babies.”

Thousands of infants in the United States suffer the ill effects of suboptimal feeding practices, and more than one million infants worldwide die every year because they are not breastfed or are given other foods too early.The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be breast-fed for 6-12 months. Breast-fed babies have lower rates of hospital admissions, ear infections, diarrhea, rashes, allergies and other medical problems than do bottlefed babies.

Last year, CentraState Medical Center, in conjunction with the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA), hosted a roundtable discussion to remind physicians, nurses, clinicians, mothers-to-be, and new moms of the positive health outcomes to both mother and baby when a child is breastfed.The NJHA chose CentraState to host this unique forum because it was one of only ten hospitals in the State to be given a grant to become a “baby-friendly” hospital.

CentraState’s First Impressions Maternity Center delivers approximately 1,600 babies annually and its lactation consultants are available seven-days-aweek to assist the mother with education and direction on how to successfully breastfeed her baby. In addition, CentraState’s Star and Barry Tobias Health Awareness Center offers a full range of programs taught by certified childbirth educators to help care for a child at every stage, including pre-pregnancy planning, prenatal care, breastfeeding support and pump rentals, infant care education, and parent/child classes.

For more information about all of the childbirth, breastfeeding, and parenting services offered at CentraState Healthcare System, call 866-CENTRA7 or 732- 308-0570, or visit centrastate.com/healthprograms.