FENTON, Mo. – SSM Health St. Clare Hospital in Fenton became a designated Baby-Friendly Hospital by Baby-Friendly USA Inc. earlier this year. The prestigious international designation follows a rigorous review process.

What does this mean for expecting parents? This designation means that SSM Health St. Clare Hospital is adhering to the highest standards of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.

“We had to implement policies for baby-friendly, feeding policies, and the nurses had to get 20-plus hours of education along with the OB staff and any staff that could possibly come into a mother’s room,” Katie Kemper, an RN and the Baby-Friendly coordinator at St. Clare Hospital, said.

St. Clare Hospital is the third SSM Health hospital in St. Louis to receive this designation.

“When the World Health Organization and UNICEF started the Baby-Friendly Health Initiative in 1991, it started with the 10 steps to successful breastfeeding,” Kemper said.

The hospital provides an environment that supports breastfeeding while respecting every woman’s right to make the best decision for herself and her family.

“When a mother breastfeeds, there is a chemical released called oxytocin; we call it the love hormone, and it actually just starts and creates that bonding process with the mom and the baby”, Kemper said.

She says classes are offered to educate moms-to-be before and after labor and the team sets a high standard for maternity care.

To learn more about childbirth at SSM Health St. Clare Hospital, click here.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs Wednesdays on KPLR News 11 at 7 p.m. and FOX 2 News at 9 p.m.