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Texas Health Hurst-Euless-Bedford Earns 'Baby-Friendly Hospital' Designation|
BEDFORD, Texas — Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford has been designated a “Baby-Friendly Hospital” by the World Health Organization, recognizing its comprehensive approach to supporting breastfeeding of newborns.
Texas Health Hurst-Euless-Bedford and Texas Health Stephenville are only the second and third hospitals in Texas to receive this distinction. Texas Health Allen was the first. These three Texas Health hospitals are among only 79 “Baby-Friendly” hospitals in the nation.
“We are thrilled to be among the first in Texas to receive this designation,” said Mary Lou Wilson, R.N., B.S.N., director of women’s services at Texas Health HEB. “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.”
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.
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, giving mom and baby the option of “rooming in”GOR and providing outpatient support after discharge.
"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 the Mid-Cities,” Wilson said.
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 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 Texas Health HEB in February to assess its breastfeeding program.
“I am proud of each one of our clinicians and the physicians on the medical staff who worked diligently on implementing the steps to becoming a ‘Baby Friendly Hospital’,” said Debbie Paganelli, president of Texas Health HEB. “The Baby-Friendly designation shows the community and the world that our hospital 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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