SGAH First in State to Achieve Breastfeeding Designation
Shady Grove Adventist Hospital is the first hospital in Maryland and one of only 177 in the United States to achieve Baby-Friendly designation through the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program that encourages and recognizes hospitals that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding.
“Shady Grove Adventist Hospital is pleased to be the state leader in implementing breastfeeding policies and recommendations,” says John Sackett, president of Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. “I would like to congratulate our Birth Center team on this achievement. This designation is a reflection of our commitment to improving the health of our community.”
The Baby-Friendly designation promotes breastfeeding as one of the most effective preventive health measures for both infants and mothers. Not only is breast milk the optimal food for infants, but breastfed babies have a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), diabetes, respiratory and ear infections, skin allergies and obesity later in childhood. In addition, mothers who breast feed have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
Only 7.2 percent of babies in the United States are born in a Baby-Friendly designated facility.
“The Birth Center at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital is committed to helping new mothers breast feed successfully,” says Carol Chandler, RN, interim director of perinatal services at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. “As part of this, we work with our physicians, nurses and lactation consultants to ensure that we are providing expert guidance and support to each family.”
Baby-Friendly designation requires hospitals to:
- Maintain a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
- Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
- Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
- Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
- Practice “rooming-in” – allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
- Encourage unrestricted breastfeeding.
- Give no artificial pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.
In 2012, officials from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), including Frances Phillips, R.N., Deputy Secretary of Public Health Services, recognized Shady Grove Adventist Hospital as a state leader in breastfeeding support and best practices.
Shady Grove Adventist Hospital’s support for breastfeeding has also been recognized with the gold-level Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace from the Maryland Breastfeeding Coalition, as well as the International Board of Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) Care Award. The IBCLC credential is the only one globally-accepted for professional lactation services and requires a rigorous recertification process every five years. All lactation consultants in Shady Grove Adventist’s mother/baby unit are IBCLC nurses who specialize in clinical management of breastfeeding.
Shady Grove Adventist offers daily breastfeeding classes while new mothers are in the hospital, in addition to phone support on weekdays and a free weekly support group through Adventist HealthCare called B.E.S.T. (Breastfeeding Education, Support and Togetherness) for mothers once they are at home. All are staffed by lactation consultants.
Shady Grove Adventist Hospital delivers 5,000 babies each year and is home to a Level IIIb Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, one of the highest designations possible.