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The Tidelands Health Newsroom

Published on October 10, 2013

Georgetown Memorial Hospital earns prestigious Baby-Friendly designation 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Georgetown, S.C. —Georgetown Memorial Hospital (GMH) has earned the Baby-Friendly hospital designation, the fourth in the state to earn the prestigious international award that recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer optimal care for mothers and their babies.

Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, the award recognizes birth facilities that offer mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to breastfeed their babies.

“This is great news not just for Georgetown Memorial Hospital, but also for our community,” Ann Waters, RN, MS, MSN, vice president of operations, GMH administrator, said.

 “Being a Baby-Friendly hospital means that babies born at GMH will begin life with a healthier start. Healthy babies grow into healthy children, so the potential impact on our community is significant. Our Women’s Services team has worked diligently to implement Baby-Friendly practices and will continue to work closely with new moms to ensure that they have the confidence to breastfeed their babies.” 

Baby-Friendly USA Inc. is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (“BFHI”), a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. The S.C. Hospital Association is overseeing a statewide initiative to encourage hospitals to earn the designation.

At GMH, staff is trained to counsel and care for mothers and babies, and the hospital has implemented policies that encourage bonding. Newborns are placed on the mothers’ skin immediately after birth, and healthy babies and their mothers stay together day and night so they can get to know each other, Nira Daleda RN BS, clinical director of Women Services at GMH, said. 

“Our Baby Friendly journey has provided us the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our mothers and babies, Daleda said. “We are educating our mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding and have seen an increase in our breastfeeding rate. Through the rise of breastfeeding in our community we hope to see healthier mothers and children.”

Carla Wham, who played a key role in the initiative, said breastfeeding offers an unmatched beginning for children and benefits new moms, as well.

“Human milk offers babies the most complete nutrition possible,” said Wham, who also directs the Community Health Education Department for Georgetown Hospital System. “It provides the optimal mix of nutrients and antibodies. Scientific studies show that breastfed children have far fewer and less severe illnesses than those who never receive breast milk, including a reduced risk for SIDS, childhood cancers, childhood obesity and diabetes.”

Wham said studies also show that women who breastfeed have decreased risks of breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis. 

GMH joins Waccamaw Community Hospital and more than 160 U.S. hospitals and birth centers and more than 20,000 around the world that have been recognized as Baby-Friendly. “Baby-Friendly” designation is awarded after a rigorous on-site survey examining a hospital’s policies, practices and procedures is completed. The award is maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding as demonstrated by quality processes.

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Tidelands Health is the largest health care provider in Georgetown and Horry counties. With three hospitals and nearly 50 outpatient locations that stretch from Andrews to North Myrtle Beach, Tidelands Health is improving lives across the Tidelands region.