Providence Holy Cross Medical Center Named “Baby-Friendly" Hospital by Baby-Friendly USA

Providence Holy Cross Medical Center has been designated "Baby-Friendly" by Baby-Friendly USA. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative recognizes hospitals that provide an optimal level of care and information for breastfeeding mothers.

"We feel like it validates the wonderful work we've been doing for the health of our patients and our community," said Sherri Mendelson, RNC, PhD, IBCLC, a Clinical Nurse Specialist and lactation consultant at Providence Holy Cross.

Currently there are only 86 hospitals and birth centers (as of December 2009) nationwide with this prestigious designation. Providence Holy Cross is the only hospital in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita, Simi and Antelope valleys to receive this designation. The Baby-Friendly designation is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. The award is maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding as designed by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

After five years of working toward the goal of Baby Friendly Designation, Providence Holy Cross can tell mothers who come to medical center that they will get the support and education they need in order to give their baby the best nutritional start in life.

"We've had to do a great deal of staff and patient education, including adding lactation consultants and educators to our staff," Mendelson said. "Our nurses know how to work with mothers to achieve the best outcome for both the mother and baby."

Providence Holy Cross offers a new parent education service, which includes round-the-clock breastfeeding support services, as well as pump rentals and prenatal education.

Baby-Friendly USA is the authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (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. Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, this prestigious international award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

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