Hudson Valley Hospital Recognized As Baby Friendly
Cortlandt Manor, NY - Hudson Valley Hospital Center, already recognized for excellence in breastfeeding support, has added another major plus to its impressive credentials with its designation as a “Baby Friendly” Hospital.
On Feb. 1, Baby Friendly USA, a leader in the movement to promote breast feeding and infant health, announced that Hudson Valley Hospital Center has become the 4th hospital in New York State and the only one in Westchester, Putnam and Rockland, to earn this coveted designation.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund, seeks to improve infant health by implementing a global best-practices program. Studies show that breastfeeding in infancy promotes good health throughout life. Baby-Friendly hospitals provide guidance in helping parents to make informed choices about how to feed and care for their babies.
“Hudson Valley Hospital Center’s expertise with regard to breastfeeding initiatives, unique and ground breaking approaches to lactation, and commitment by medical staff and nursing staff were all well received by the surveyors during their visit here,’’ said John Federspiel, President of Hudson Valley Hospital Center. “I congratulate Sabrina Nitkowski-Keever, Director of Maternal/Child Health, and Linda LeMon, Lactation Specialist, and the entire Department of Obstetrics staff for their extraordinary efforts.”
Nitkowski-Keever and LeMon said that the designation was a two-year journey which involved the entire staff in making changes to improve the Maternity Department’s already excellent breastfeeding support programs.
“We have been pursuing the designation for the last two years, and the response has really been excellent,” says Linda LeMon, board-certified Lactation Consultant at HVHC. “It’s one of the projects we are most proud of—we are actually impacting the health of our community”
Nitkowski-Keever said that with the rise in childhood obesity it was more important than ever that healthy eating begin at birth. She said it was all part of a sea change that recognizes that proper nutrition is an integral part of staying healthy.
Breastfeeding is known to fight disease, lower sick care visits and hospitalizations, and help develop strong bonds between mother and child. Evidence has demonstrated that breastfeeding also helps regulate respiration, temperature, glucose, and heart rates for babies, and helps speed childbirth recovery for moms as well as helping to fight obesity later in life.
“It’s very exciting to be part of a change in culture. “We are proud of our commitment to offering the resources necessary for moms to make informed decisions about the health of their babies,” says Nitkowski-Keever. “The program has increased breastfeeding rates both in the hospital and at home, with 90 percent of babies now breastfed when they leave the hospital.”
Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers uphold the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes by offering education and educational materials that promote human milk rather than other infant food or drinks, and by refusing to accept or distribute free or subsidized supplies of breast milk substitutes, nipples, and other feeding devices. In addition to focusing on making breast-feeding a viable option for new mothers, Baby-Friendly care encourages mothers to be with their newborns 24 hours a day. This promotes bonding, enhances feeding and weight gain, and improves sleep for both mother and child.
To earn the Baby- Friendly designation, hospitals must follow a strict set of guidelines and requirements including:
- Completing a period of comprehensive training and preparation
- Providing new mothers with optimal care, information and instruction to successfully breastfeed or feed formula to their babies
- Undergoing a rigorous yearly BFHI review
Hudson Valley Hospital Center has one of the top breastfeeding support programs in the state and was presented with an award of excellence by New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah in April 2011. HVHC is also the only Hospital and Birthing Center in Westchester and Putnam counties to be recognized for breastfeeding support by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners.
The Hospital has a breastfeeding support group that meets on the first and third Wednesdays of each month and offers prenatal education classes, private consultations, telephone triage and a new class on what to expect for grandmothers.
For more information on the breastfeeding programs at Hudson Valley Hospital Center call 734-3896 or visit www.hvhc.org.