SSM Health Medical Minute: Becoming a baby-friendly hospital

FENTON, Mo. - Baby-Friendly USA, Inc (BFUSA) is the accrediting body and national authority for the BHFI in the United States, responsible for coordinating and conducting all activities necessary to confer the prestigious Baby-Friendly designation across hospitals.

SSM Health St. Clare Hospital in Fenton is close to receiving their designation which means their labor and delivery staff have met the requirements to participate in furthering education on caring for mom and baby together. And all staff are learning all the steps they need to help moms be successful with breastfeeding.

The designation is awarded through hospitals refining and upholding the standards or criteria for successfully implementing the steps to successful breastfeeding, accessing and accrediting birthing facilities that meet those standards and generating widespread understanding of infant feeding care.

The research shows the multitude of health benefits for successfully breastfeeding a newborn. Breastfeeding has been proven to reduce common infections, diabetes, common GI bugs, reduces the risk of asthma, dermatitis, celiac disease, obesity and improves neuro development outcomes for infants among the many other benefits that have been researched. However, should a mom not be able to breastfeed or choose not to breastfeed, the Baby-Friendly initiative makes sure parents know how to feed their baby with formula and how to prepare the formula.

The Baby-Friendly designation requires labor and delivery all in the same room to provide 24-hour care with mom and baby together. This provides the opportunity for caregivers, doctors, and nurses to give education to parents while they are doing their exam. It also gives hospitals the opportunity to receive feedback from moms and let the parents gain better confidence as they go home with their baby.

The Baby-Friendly initiative encourages togetherness, skin-to-skin contact in the first several hours after the baby is born to allow the baby to reduce their anxiety, regulate their blood sugars and improve the bond with the parents. The transformation of the birthplace is encouraged by everyone at SSM Health to allow parents and babies to be the best they can be once they go home.

To learn more about birthing options at SSM Health hospitals, click here.

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