[HMNMH] – Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital has received prestigious international recognition as a Baby-Friendly birth facility.
Following a rigorous application and a two-day onsite survey in September 2011 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representatives, Henry Mayo became only one of nine Baby-Friendly hospitals in Los Angeles County in November 2011.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program sponsored by the WHO and UNICEF. The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. There are more than 2,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide, with 121 in the United States. Of that total, California leads the nation with 15% of its hospitals designated Baby-Friendly, compared to the national average of 5%.
“Congratulations to our entire Women’s Services Unit,” said Roger Seaver, president and CEO. “This is a great example of a mission-driven service at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. This designation will raise the profile of one of our focuses on “Improving the Health of our Community.”
Through its breastfeeding efforts and activities, Henry Mayo increased its in-hospital breastfeeding initiation rate to 96 percent, with 76 percent of new mothers exclusively breastfeeding at discharge by the end of FY 2011.
“Every step of the way, we had full administrative support,” said Mary Beth Sweet, lactation specialist. “We have a vested interest in providing our community with the education and support to our breastfeeding mothers by helping to improve the overall health for mothers and babies in our care; Baby-Friendly enables us to continue and excel at doing just that.”
When babies are breastfed, both mother and baby are healthier throughout their lives. Breastfed babies have less childhood cancer and diabetes and a lower risk of being overweight or obese in childhood and adolescence compared to formula-fed children. Women who breastfeed face decreased risks of breast and ovarian cancer, anemia, and osteoporosis.
“Baby-Friendly is a quality improvement initiative and probably one of the most important quality projects I have ever participated in,” said Sally McGann, RNC, MSN, director of Women’s Services. “This was a collaborative effort including disciplines at all levels—the lactation team, physicians and Women’s Services. Through this significant quality improvement, by promoting breastfeeding, we can impact the health of our community’s children and protect them from childhood illnesses.”
With the benefits of breastfeeding too important to ignore, Henry Mayo began its quest in 2006 to encourage and promote breastfeeding among new mothers. At that time, 89 percent of mothers who gave birth at the hospital wanted to initiate breastfeeding and 48 percent exclusively breastfed at discharge.
Henry Mayo initiated a number of steps to grow these figures, including creating a multidisciplinary Breastfeeding Task Force to identify and remove hospital barriers to breastfeeding; offering 16 hours of classroom instruction for nurses in the women service’s unit, which covered such topics as solving common breastfeeding problems and effective positioning and latching techniques, and reaching out to local OB-GYNs and pediatricians to ensure moms-to-be and parents understand the benefits of breastfeeding.
To receive this designation, hospitals must meet the following 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding:
1. Having a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff
2. Training all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy
3. Informing all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding
4. Helping mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour after birth
5. Showing mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants
6. Giving infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated
7. Practicing “rooming in,” which allows mothers and infants to remain together
8. Encouraging breastfeeding on demand
9. Giving no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants
10. Fostering the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and referring mothers to them on discharge
ABOUT HENRY MAYO
Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital is a 227 bed not-for-profit acute care hospital serving the Santa Clarita Valley since 1975. Services include trauma, emergency, intensive care, maternity, surgery, nursing, wound care, behavioral health, and acute rehab, as well as cancer, cardiology, imaging, lab, digestive, respiratory services and physical and occupational therapies. Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital is located at 23845 McBean Parkway, Valencia, CA 91355-2083. For more information, visit www.henrymayo.com or call 661-253-8000.