Phelps Hospital announced today that it has again earned international recognition as a Baby-Friendly® birth facility for upholding the highest standards of infant feeding care in the precious first days of the child’s life.
Every five years the hospital, which delivers nearly a thousand babies each year, goes through a rigorous review process conducted by Baby-Friendly USA, a global program initiated by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). In 2016, Phelps was one of the first hospitals in New York State to receive this international designation.
“We know the hospital experience strongly influences a mother’s ability to start and continue breastfeeding,” said Yeva Posner RN, IBCLC, Clinical Program, Manager Maternal Child Health at Phelps Hospital. “This re-designation is particularly important today as we are seeing a nationwide shortage of baby formula. It reinforces our commitment to implementing evidence-based care through the Baby-Friendly designation to ensure that mothers delivering in our facility who intend to breastfeed, as well as those who cannot or decide not to breastfeed, are fully supported.”
The positive health effects of breastfeeding are well documented and widely recognized by health authorities throughout the world. For example, the Surgeon General’s 2011 Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding stated that “Breast milk is uniquely suited to the human infant’s nutritional needs and is a live substance with unparalleled immunological and anti-inflammatory properties that protect against a host of illnesses and diseases for both mothers and children.
Phelps joins a growing list of more than 20,000 Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers throughout the world, approximately 600 of which are in the United States. These facilities provide an environment that supports breastfeeding while respecting every woman’s right to make the best decision for herself and her family.
The standards are built on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a set of evidence-based practices recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for optimal infant feeding support and bonding in the precious first days of a newborn’s life.
“This designation is the culmination of a lot of hard work and determination across our organization, all with a goal of helping families get off to a good start,” said Eileen Egan, executive director at Phelps Hospital. “We are proud to offer an environment that supports best practices shown to increase breastfeeding exclusivity and duration and are committed to provide excellent care, support, and education to all our patients.”