Beebe Healthcare recently announced it has earned designation as a Baby-Friendly Hospital, reflecting its commitment to the optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother-and-infant bonding.
Beebe Healthcare is the first organization in Delaware to earn this international designation, launched as part of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in 1991 by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund. It recognizes birthing centers that successfully implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes.
“This is wonderful recognition for Beebe,” said Jeffrey M. Fried, FACHE, president and CEO of Beebe Healthcare. “It reflects the hard work by our pediatricians, our obstetricians, and the entire team in Women’s Health. We also want to thank Nancy Hastings for her leadership role in enabling us to reach this significant milestone.”
Earning the designation for a hospital birthing center includes many steps, such as lactation education for maternity nurses, neonatal nurse practitioners, midwives, pediatricians, and obstetricians, said Nancy Hastings, RN, IBCLC, who has worked in Women’s Health at Beebe for more than 30 years. Even the hospitalists, pediatric nurses and Emergency Department staff were updated on the latest information on promoting, preserving and supporting a mother's choice to breastfeed.
“We have worked toward this designation for five and a half years,” Hastings said. “And though we officially received the designation on Jan. 31, we have been following these practices for more than two years.”
A Baby-Friendly Hospital also supports the importance of how a mother and infant bond with each other following birth, regardless of feeding method. Immediately after birth, the labor-and-delivery nurse gives the mother the baby to hold on her bare chest skin-to-skin to assist in stabilizing the baby's temperature and blood sugar and to begin the bonding process. Mothers who give birth by cesarean section at Beebe can practice this skin-to-skin experience once they are in the recovery room.
The Beebe Women’s Health Pavilion is staffed by 30 maternity nurses, one lactation consultant, four neonatal nurse practitioners, four midwives, five certified nursing assistants, seven obstetricians and two pediatricians. About 900 babies are born at Beebe each year.
More information on the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative can be found at www.babyfriendlyusa.org/about-us/baby-friendly-hospital-initiative.