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Helping Babies get a Healthy Start

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen is proud to be the first hospital in the state — and one of only 75 nationwide as of December 2008 — to be designated a “Baby-Friendly Hospital” by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

This distinction is given to hospitals exhibiting a unique dedication to helping mothers and infants learn to breastfeed. Recognized hospitals also must comply with a stringent set of guidelines set forth by the founding organizations.

“We are very proud of the efforts our facility and staff have made that allow us to be honored in this way,” says Vicki Gettel, R.N., I.B.C.L.C., Family Birthplace lactation consultant at Texas Health Allen. “Each of our staff members has undergone more than 20 hours of education specifically related to the importance of breastfeeding and how to help women succeed in their breastfeeding efforts.”

Texas Health Allen allows mothers to room-in with their babies to give them the opportunity to develop a bond. Staff members also provide assistance with common concerns that breastfeeding mothers may face shortly after birth, and lactation consultants are available for mothers during their stay and after discharge from the hospital.

“Breastfeeding is beneficial to babies in a number of ways, especially with regard to enhancing the immune system,” Gettel says. “We want to encourage women to help their babies get off to the best start possible, and the Baby-Friendly recognition we have earned underscores our dedication to this effort.”

For more information about the benefits of breastfeeding, visit TexasHealth.org. (Spring 2009)

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