Presbyterian Hospital of Allen Named Texas’ First 'Baby-Friendly Hospital'|
ALLEN, Texas — Presbyterian Hospital of Allen has been designated a “Baby-Friendly Hospital” by the World Health Organization, recognizing its comprehensive approach to supporting breastfeeding of newborns.
Presbyterian Hospital of Allen (PHA) is the first hospital in Texas to receive this distinction and only the 68th in the nation.
An international program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is designed to encourage and acknowledge hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for lactation.
“We are honored to be the first hospital in Texas to earn this prestigious award,” said Dawn Nichols, M.S.N., R.N., director of The Family Birthplace at Presbyterian Hospital of Allen. “This designation means we have established a standard of excellence for assisting pregnant women and new mothers in one of the most rewarding experiences of motherhood: breastfeeding.
"It also is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our employees and the physicians on the medical staff to promote the health of moms and babies in Allen and our surrounding communities.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in its recent Breastfeeding Report Card, lauds the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative and lists the number of facilities in each state that have achieved the Baby-Friendly designation.
“Birth facility policies and practices significantly impact whether a woman chooses to start breastfeeding and how long she continues to breastfeed,” the report says. The CDC encourages breastfeeding because of its many known benefits for infants, children and breastfeeding women.
Representatives from Baby-Friendly USA, the nonprofit organization that oversees the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in the United States, conducted an intensive two-day site visit at Presbyterian Hospital of Allen in August to assess its breastfeeding program.
To achieve Baby-Friendly status, hospitals must successfully implement and follow 10 steps outlined by the program. These include starting breastfeeding in the first hour of life, extensive employee training, practicing “rooming in” for new moms and infants, and providing outpatient support after discharge.
“I am proud of all those associated with The Family Birthplace who have worked so hard in earning this important international recognition,” said PHA President Sheila McKinney. “The Baby-Friendly designation shows the community and the world that Presbyterian Hospital of Allen is committed to supporting new mothers by giving them the information, confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding.”
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