WCH first in SC to earn prestigious Baby-Friendly designation
Thursday, June 06, 2013
Georgetown, S.C. — Waccamaw Community Hospital (WCH) has earned the Baby-Friendly hospital designation, the first in the state to earn the prestigious international award that recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer optimal care for mothers and their babies.
“This is an important distinction for Waccamaw Community Hospital and one that will impact the health of women and children in our community,” Gayle Resetar, Georgetown Hospital System chief operating officer, said. “Our OB Services team and the staff of our Community Health Education office have worked diligently to implement best practices for care, and being named a Baby-Friendly Hospital demonstrates that we have met the gold standard for mother/baby care. Thanks to their effort, more babies will begin life with a healthier start.”
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.
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.
At WCH, 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, Cheryl Kilbourne, director of OB Services at WCH, said.
“Being together gives new parents opportunities to learn about normal baby behavior while knowing that well-trained, experienced staff is nearby to answer questions about everything from movements to breathing patterns,” Kilbourne said.
Carla Wham, who played a key role in the initiative, said breastfeeding offers an unmatched beginning for children and benefits new moms, as well.
“Giving infants human milk offers babies the most complete nutrition possible,” said Wham, who also directs the Community Health Education Department for Georgetown Hospital System. “Human milk 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.
WCH joins the 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.