MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – WVU Medicine Berkeley Medical Center has been awarded international recognition as a Designated Baby-Friendly birth facility by Baby-Friendly USA, Inc.
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 the United Nations Children’s Fund (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 award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies. Berkeley Medical Center earned the designation following a rigorous on-site survey.
According to Becky Fallon, M.S.N., R.N., quality improvement manager at Baby-Friendly USA, the survey criteria are challenging and designed to set the standards for the best possible breastfeeding support for mother and infant in the maternity setting, insuring high quality of care in this critical area of mother/baby care.
There are 551 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth center in the United States. Berkeley Medical Center is the only hospital in the region to hold this prestigious designation.
Berkeley Medical Center has earned the designation for a period of five years. The award is maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps as demonstrated by the quality processes. In order to be compliant with Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative review process, the nurses and medical staff took part in extensive breastfeeding didactic education and clinical skills training.
“We changed our policies and practices at Berkeley Medical Center to ensure that mothers who give birth at our hospital will receive more education to make an informed feeding choice for their babies as well as assistance and support for breastfeeding during their stay and after hospital discharge,” Julie Oswald, lactation consultant, said.
“We are so very proud of the commitment Berkeley Medical Center has in promoting, educating, and supporting breastfeeding as well as providing excellent care for our growing families. This would not have been possible without the support of the entire hospital staff."