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Three Texas Health Hospitals Celebrate Earning Designation as “Baby Friendly”|
ARLINGTON, Texas — Former nurse and Texas first lady Anita Perry joined representatives today of three Texas Health Resources hospitals to celebrate their designation as “Baby-Friendly” hospitals. The celebration was hosted by Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford.
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen was named a Baby-Friendly hospital last October, becoming the first hospital in Texas and only the 68th in the nation to receive this distinction. Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville and Texas Health HEB received the designation in March.
“The Baby-Friendly designation shows the community and the world these hospitals are committed to supporting new mothers by giving them the information, confidence and skills needed help give their babies a healthy start in life,” said Barclay Berdan, senior executive vice president for system alignment and performance. “More than 24,000 babies are born every year in our 14 hospitals, and we want every one of them to be thriving and healthy.
"The Baby Friendly initiative is one we’re pursuing in hospitals across the Texas Health system, and we’re very proud of these three hospitals for leading the way,” he said.
Deborah Paganelli, president of Texas Health HEB, welcomed the first lady and the audience of hospital staff and community leaders saying, “We’re very proud to host this celebration and highlight the wonderful environment we’ve created in our hospital for mothers and their newborns.”
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.
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. According to the report, birth facility policies and practices significantly impact whether a woman chooses to start breastfeeding and how long she continues to breastfeed.
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, conduct intensive site visits to the hospitals to assess their breastfeeding programs.
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.
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