How the Birthing Center is Walking the Talk in Support of Breastfeeding

August 13th, 2013

The Memorial Hospital of Carbondale Birthing Center is taking on a new mission—to be a “Baby Friendly” hospital, an international accreditation.

According to Jennifer Gilpin, manager of the Special Care Nursery at Memorial, this past January all Illinois maternity hospitals were asked to implement the Hospital Infant Feeding Policy Act, which includes some “Baby Friendly” tactics. However, the Memorial Birthing Center is taking the extra initiative to go even further, by completing all the steps for full “Baby Friendly” accreditation.

Earlier this month, MHC received an $11,000 AACP We Choose Health grant to pursue the full designation and administrator Bart Millstead signed the letter of intent. “We will be among five hospitals in the state of Illinois to successfully complete the process,” said Gilpin.
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In order to receive the accreditation, the hospital must follow The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, which are:
  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one half-hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and maintain lactation, even if they should be separated from their infants.
  6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice rooming in – that is, allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic

Nancy Armstrong, Breastfeeding Consultant with Memorial Hospital of Carbondale has been an advocate for breast feeding for several years. “It is so exciting to see our hospital pursue the endeavor of Baby Friendly status,” said Armstrong. “I think this will be very helpful to families in southern Illinois and it will certainly help make healthier babies and moms.”

Armstrong said having “Baby Friendly” accreditation is a commitment from the hospital’s standpoint. “This is an exciting time,” said Armstrong. “I’ve hoped to see us do it for a long time – now things are going forward.”