Baby-Friendly USA, implementor of the UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in the United States announced the designation of Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas as a U.S. “Baby-Friendly” hospital and the only such facility in San Diego County.
There are only 42 Baby-Friendly designated hospitals in the U.S. with seven in California. Internationally, there are more than 1600 Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in 125 countries.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), launched in 1991, is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF.) BRHI encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breast feeding mothers and their babies. Based on the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding,” this prestigious international award recognizes hospitals and birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence and skills to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their newborns.
“Our hospital has always promoted strong mother and baby bonding with breastfeeding education as a high priority,” says Bella Kaufman, director, The Leichtag Family Birth Pavilion, Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas. “We have worked for over a year to receive this designation and are proud to be able to provide an extra level of service to the community.”
Working with Baby-Friendly USA staff, a Certificate of Intent commits the hospital to work toward full implementation of all ten steps required for certification. During the year long qualification process, the hospital is required to assess, review and refine its policies and procedures to optimally promote, protect and support breastfeeding. During this time nursing staff in the birth pavilion receive extensive lactation training.
Designation as a Baby-Friendly facility requires a rigorous two day on-site assessment carried out by internationally trained professional assessors.
The goal of the Baby-Friendly program is to give every baby the best start in life by creating a health care environment where breastfeeding education is a priority and mother-baby contact are the norm.