Memorial Hospital of Carbondale earns Baby Friendly

December 9th, 2015

As you enter the Birthing Center at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale these days, the curtains to the nursery are drawn, leading many to ask, “Where are all the babies?”

The babies are with mom.

Memorial Hospital of Carbondale recently completed a two-year journey on a re-birth of its own – designation as a Baby Friendly ® hospital. Gone are the days when the infant is whisked away to the nursery for bathing, shots and hearing tests. Today, babies bond with mom and dad immediately during the “Golden Hour,” the first hour of life, with uninterrupted time and skin-to-skin contact. In fact, many babies begin breastfeeding right after birth. Testing is performed bedside, and fathers often participate in giving baby his/her first bath. Baby and mom room together continuously as a “couplet,” with lots of help from nurses and lactation specialists. This helps builds confidence in learning the baby’s cues, making the transition home much easier.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF launched Baby-Friendly in 1991 to emphasize the health benefits of breast-feeding, which include lower rates of diabetes, childhood leukemia, asthma and other illnesses. Memorial Hospital of Carbondale is one of only seven hospitals in Illinois to earn the accreditation.


Jenny Ting of Carbondale delivered her son, Samuel, two-months ago, shortly after the hospital received Baby Friendly status. Ting has a unique perspective in the “before” and “after” Baby-Friendly journey. She’s a nurse at the Birthing Center and a mom of three. Her first child was born at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale 13 years ago.

“In the past, we took care of mom and baby separately. With Baby Friendly, we’ve transitioned to taking care of the family as a unit; it’s all about the bonding experience. My son was skin-to-skin with me for the first hour, and I got to see him weighed, receive his hearing screen and shots, and get his first bath. It’s so much more intimate. I think what’s important is you are able to be part of your baby’s care, you are taking care of your baby, and the nurses are there to help,” said Ting.

Memorial Hospital of Carbondale provides support to new moms even after they leave the hospital, and provides outpatient lactation consultants 24/7. For moms who are unable to breast-feed or find that it’s not the right fit for them, bottle help is also available. Lactation and support nurses work with each new mom to provide her with the best resources to support her choice.

For a closer look at the “10 Steps to Baby Friendly,” click here.