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LEBANON - Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center has received recognition as a “Baby-Friendly” birth facility, as designated by Baby-Friendly USA.
Baby-Friendly USA, Inc is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund.
The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. The prestigious international award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies. The award is maintained by continuing to practice BFHI’s “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” as demonstrated by quality processes.
The Ten Steps include having a breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to staff, educating staff in the skills necessary to assist breastfeeding mothers, informing all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding, practicing mother-infant care without separation, assisting mothers who are separated from their infants due to illness and providing postpartum breastfeeding support.
There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide, but only 142 in the United States – about four percent of all US hospitals and birth centers.
The “Baby-Friendly” designation is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. DHMC will be re-assessed in five years, with annual reporting to Baby-Friendly USA on metrics including exclusive breastfeeding rates, rooming in rates, prenatal education efforts and continuing evidence-based lactation practices.