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Texas Health Stephenville Named 'Baby-Friendly Hospital' by World Health Organization|
STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville has been named a “Baby-Friendly Hospital” by the World Health Organization.
Texas Health Stephenville is one of three hospitals in the Texas Health Resources system to be designated as baby-friendly. Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen also were designated.
So far, only about 80 U.S. hospitals have earned the designation and the Texas Health hospitals are the only ones in Texas named baby-friendly.
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.
“Everyone on our women’s and children’s staff is thrilled to receive this recognition,” Devra LeFevre, R.N., director of nursing for women and children at Texas Health Stephenville. “But the real reward comes from seeing a new mother successfully breastfeeding her newborn.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in its recent Breastfeeding Report Card, lauded the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative and listed 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 said. 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 initiative, conducted an intensive site visit at Texas Health Stephenville in late February 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 the new mom and infant are released from the hospital.
Texas Health Stephenville recently expanded its family resource center to provide space for new mothers to learn more about breastfeeding.
“We really take a holistic approach to educating parents from the childbirth preparation classes to breastfeeding assistance and education after the birth,” said Jennifer McMeens, clinical educator at Texas Health Stephenville. “We also work with young families on car seat and booster seat checks all the way through the child’s eighth birthday.”
“Our employees do a wonderful job anticipating the needs of new parents and providing education and support throughout the birthing process,” said Texas Health Stephenville President Christopher Leu. “We are so proud to receive this prestigious recognition from the World Health Organization. This recognition is a great way to promote breastfeeding education and other support options for new mothers.”
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Doctors on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital.