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Beebe Healthcare is the first organization in Delaware to receive the Global Designation as a Baby-Friendly™ Hospital

Beebe Healthcare has earned the designation as a Baby-Friendly™ Hospital, reflecting its commitment to the optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother-and-infant bonding.

Beebe Healthcare is the first organization in Delaware to earn this international designation, launched as part of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in 1991 by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). It recognizes birthing centers that successfully implement the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” and the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes. BFHI promotes practices that protect, promote and support breastfeeding, and has been implemented in more than 152 countries.

“This is wonderful recognition for Beebe,” said Jeffrey M. Fried, FACHE, President and CEO of Beebe Healthcare. “It reflects the hard work by our pediatricians, our obstetricians, and the entire team in Women’s Health. It is an honor to be the first in Delaware to be recognized for our commitment to newborns and their mothers. We also want to thank Nancy Hastings for her leadership role in enabling us to reach this significant milestone.”

Earning the designation for a hospital birthing center is a long process that includes many steps, such as lactation education for maternity nurses, neonatal nurse practitioners, midwives, pediatricians, and obstetricians, explains Nancy Hastings, RN, IBCLC, who has worked in Women’s Health at Beebe for more than 30 years. Even the hospitalists, pediatric nurses and Emergency Department staff were updated on the latest information on promoting, preserving and supporting a mother's choice to breastfeed.

“We have worked toward this designation for five and a half years,” Nancy said. “Through this initiative we improved our policies and adopted evidence-based maternity care practices. And though we officially received the designation on January 31, we have been following these practices for more than two years.”

Nancy, who also is member of the Breastfeeding Coalition of Delaware, said, “We have a strong commitment throughout Delaware to bring optimal healthcare to our babies.”

While the focus of Baby-Friendly is on breastfeeding, it also supports the importance of how a mother and infant bond with each other following birth, regardless of feeding method. Immediately after birth, the labor-and-delivery nurse gives the mother the baby to hold on her bare chest skin-to-skin to assist in stabilizing the baby's temperature and blood sugar and to begin the bonding process. Mothers that give birth by cesarean section at Beebe can practice this skin-to-skin experience once they are in the recovery room.

The Beebe Women’s Health Pavilion is staffed by 30 maternity nurses, 1 lactation consultant, 4 neonatal nurse practitioners, 4 midwives, 5 certified nursing assistants, 7 obstetricians and 2 pediatricians. About 900 babies are born at Beebe each year.

Baby-Friendly™:10 steps hospitals must meet

STEP 1: Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all healthcare staff.
STEP 2: Train all healthcare staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
STEP 3: Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
STEP 4: Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
STEP 5: Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they are separated from their infants.
STEP 6: Give infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated.
STEP 7: Practice rooming-in to allow mothers and infants to remain together twenty-four hours a day.
STEP 8: Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
STEP 9: Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
STEP 10: Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center.

More information on the Baby-Friendly ™ Hospital Initiative can be found at:

Caption: Staff members in Beebe’s Women’s Health Pavilion were happy to learn of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Designation. Pictured here, left to right, are: Jennifer Rice, RN; Tina Sykes, RN; Kathy Adams, RN; Nancy Hastings, RN, IBCLC; Joan Gay, RN; Teresa Fritz, CNA; and Jennifer Hopkins, RN.