CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital is the first healthcare facility in Charleston to be named a Baby-Friendly Facility.
The international designation is given to healthcare facilities that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies, as laid out by Baby-Friendly USA, Inc.
"Being a Baby Friendly hospital is important to our patients because it shows our dedication to not only their health before, during, and after delivery, but also their infant's long-term growth and development," said Dr. Meghan Lynch of Mount Pleasant OB/GYN. "With our hands-on approach to educating and supporting new moms and babies, patients can trust that this is the place to go when you're expecting."
More than 3,200 hospitals have maternity services in the United States and only 166 are currently accredited as Baby Friendly.
In order to receive the accreditation, facilities take part in a rigorous, on-site survey. They maintain their designation by following the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.
Those steps are:
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all healthcare staff.
- Train all healthcare 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 should be separated from their infants.
- Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated.
- Practice rooming which allows mothers and infants to remain together-24 hours a day.
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
- Give no artificial teats (also called bottle nipples) or pacifiers to breastfeeding infants.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.