PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center receives prestigious Baby-Friendly Designation

The honor ‘demonstrates that PeaceHealth Southwest is adhering to the highest standards of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies’

VANCOUVER – PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center announced Thursday that it has achieved the highly prestigious international Baby-Friendly Designation after a rigorous review process conducted by Baby-Friendly USA, the organization responsible for bestowing this certification in the United States.

A baby, its family and staff members are shown here in this recent photo at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver. Photo courtesy PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center
A baby, its family and staff members are shown here in this recent photo at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver. Photo courtesy PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center

This distinguished honor demonstrates that PeaceHealth Southwest is adhering to the highest standards of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. These standards are built on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a set of evidence-based practices recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for optimal infant feeding support in first days of a newborn’s life.

“Our Family Birth Center has long been a recognized leader in the care of women and newborns,” said Barbara James, director of Women’s & Children’s Services. “This designation reinforces our commitment that every woman who delivers a baby at our facility is given the resources, information and ongoing support needed to help her and her baby get the best, healthiest start in life.”

Of women delivering at PeaceHealth Southwest, 97 percent of them initiate breastfeeding. This percentage exceeds the latest CDC Breastfeeding Report Card that indicated 92.4 percent of babies born in Washington in 2015 initiated breastfeeding.

One of the birthing suites at the PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center is shown here. Photo courtesy of PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center
One of the birthing suites at the PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center is shown here. Photo courtesy of PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center

The positive health effects of breastfeeding are well documented and widely recognized by health authorities throughout the world. For example, the Surgeon General’s 2011 Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding stated that “Breast milk is uniquely suited to the human infant’s nutritional needs and is a live substance with unparalleled immunological and anti-inflammatory properties that protect against a host of illnesses and diseases for both mothers and children.”

PeaceHealth Southwest joins a growing list of 603 Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States. PeaceHealth Southwest’s Birth Center provides an environment that supports breastfeeding and employs a staff that includes 13 board-certified lactation consultants. Additionally, it offers the community ongoing breastfeeding support groups at no charge along with other breastfeeding classes.

About PeaceHealth

PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, is a not-for-profit Catholic health system offering care to communities in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. It has approximately 16,000 caregivers, a group practice with more than 900 providers and 10 medical centers serving both urban and rural communities throughout the Northwest. In 1890, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace founded what has become PeaceHealth. The Sisters shared expertise and transferred wisdom from one medical center to another, always finding the best way to serve the unmet need for healthcare in their communities. Today, PeaceHealth is the legacy of the founding Sisters and continues with a spirit of respect, stewardship, collaboration and social justice in fulfilling its Mission. Visit online at peacehealth.org.

About Baby-Friendly USA: As the accrediting body and national authority for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in the United States, Baby-Friendly USA is responsible for upholding the highest standards in infant feeding care by coordinating and conducting all activities necessary to confer the prestigious Baby-Friendly designation and ensure the widespread adoption of the BFHI in the US. Learn more about Baby-Friendly USA and the BFHI at babyfriendlyusa.org.

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