One of 97 hospitals in the U.S. to become Baby Friendly
Woodland, CA, September 10, 2010 – Woodland Healthcare has been designated a Baby Friendly Hospital, a program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to encourage and recognize hospitals that support breastfeeding.
Woodland Healthcare is one of 97 hospitals in the U.S. to become Baby Friendly.
A Baby Friendly Hospital is a facility that promotes, protects and supports lactation by implementing a series of steps outlined by WHO and UNICEF for successful breastfeeding in hospitals. The recommendations include maintaining a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff; inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding; help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth; and foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital.
“We are thrilled to be designated a Baby Friendly Hospital,” said Libby Smith, director of Woodland Healthcare’s Maternal Child “This designation is a world health initiative to improve public health. We need to look at breastfeeding not just as something neat you can do but to protect your infant through the first year of life,” said Smith. “Now that Woodland Healthcare fully supports breastfeeding, the health of babies born here will be affected in a positive way.”
Smith credits Woodland Healthcare’s skin-to-skin program with helping the hospital transition to Baby Friendly. In a skin-to-skin program, babies are placed unclothed on the mother’s chest, skin to skin, immediately after birth and all care is provided to the baby while the baby is with the mother. Non-essential medical and nursing tasks are delayed for at least four hours after birth. Mother keeps the baby warm and regulates the heart, respiratory and oxygen saturation rates, babies feel less pain, cry less, breastfeed better, are calmer and happier and are more secure and attached to their parents. Fathers are also encouraged to do skin-to-skin with the baby. In addition, the hospital practices “rooming in,” when the baby stays in the same room with its parents, instead of going to a nursery.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be fed only breast milk for the first six months of life. Breast milk offers many benefits for the baby. Breast milk has disease-fighting cells called antibodies that help protect infants from germs, illness, and even SIDS, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Children who were breastfed as infants have a reduced risk for childhood cancer, respiratory infections such as asthma, obesity, and adult diabetes. Breast milk is the perfect food for babies.
There are also benefits for breastfeeding mothers. Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of some types of cancer for the mother, including breast, ovarian, cervical and endometrial cancer. In addition, the calories a body burns converting energy into breast milk can help new mothers drop extra pounds.
Woodland Healthcare’s Family Birth Center has changed many of its practices to support a Baby Friendly designation. The hospital no longer provides pacifiers to infants and no longer hands out formula gift bags. The hospital offers lactation coverage seven days a week and prenatal and postpartum lactation clinic five days a week. Lactation services offer prenatal breastfeeding and parenting classes and a weekly postpartum support group. The hospital also supports lactating mothers with an outpatient lactation clinic and breast feeding support in the first 72 hours once they go home.
For more information about Woodland Healthcare's Family Birth Center, visit