Baby Friendly® Designated Birthing Facility

Becoming a Baby-Friendly facility is a comprehensive journey toward excellence by providing evidence-based maternity care with the goal of achieving optimal infant feeding outcomes and mother/baby bonding, according to Baby-Friendly, USA, Inc., which implements The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative in the U.S. on behalf of The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The Baby-Friendly designation is awarded following a rigorous on-site survey. The survey process reviews policies, new practices, and culture changes in the hospital’s inpatient and outpatient women’s health setting. The Baby-Friendly initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.

Breastfeeding has multiple health benefits for both mothers and infants. Besides skin-to-skin contact and mother/baby bonding, human milk provides the optimal mix of nutrients and antibodies necessary for babies to thrive. Scientific studies have also shown that breastfed children have fewer and less serious illnesses than those who never received breast milk.

St. Peter’s Hospital is the first major hospital in Montana to earn this designation, and among just a few hundred designated hospitals nationwide. Other Baby Friendly Designated facilities in the U.S. include Mayo Clinic Health System, Emory Healthcare, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Kaiser Permanente among others.

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