Written by Donald A. Promnitz
Saint Agnes Medical Center is one of 95 hospitals in California to be designated as a Baby-Friendly birth facility by Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. It is the first hospital in Fresno County to receive this designation.
Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the United States authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the UN Children’s Fund.
The initiative recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Based on the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding,” this international designation recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.
“Being Baby-Friendly means our board-certified lactation consultants support all mothers by assuring they have the information needed to make an informed choice about how they feed their baby,” said Kim Meeker, chief nursing officer at Saint Agnes. “No matter what decision is made, every mom’s choice is respected with evidence-based teaching. Our Women and Infants Services colleagues and physicians who have worked hard to earn this distinction that ensures our mothers and babies receive the best start.”
There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently, there are 482 active Baby-Friendly hospitals in the United States.
Locally, Tulare Regional Medical Center, which is currently closed due to financial problems, was designated as Baby-Friendly in June 2017.