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News and Information
December 5, 2018
Growing Support for Growing Families: St. Joseph Medical Center Receives Prestigious Baby-Friendly Hospital Designation
St. Joseph Medical Center is now a Designated Baby-Friendly birth facility, making it the only current hospital in the south Puget Sound to hold the prestigious international distinction.
Baby-Friendly hospitals are selected after a lengthy review process based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding guidelines established by the World Health Organization (WHO). The Baby-Friendly hospital designation is awarded by Baby-Friendly USA, Inc., part of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) sponsored by the WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Babies who are breastfed have reduced risks of ear and respiratory infections, asthma, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), diabetes, and obesity. Breastfeeding also offers long-term health benefits to mothers, reducing the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and breast and ovarian cancers later in life. All CHI Franciscan Birth Centers offer outpatient lactation programs, where any mother can receive expert, evidence-based breastfeeding support and education close to home – from West Seattle to Puyallup to the Peninsula.
“As a designated Baby-Friendly hospital, St. Joseph is recognized for providing new mothers with thorough, consistent education and support before leaving the hospital,” said Jakki Stodola, MBA, BSN, RNC, director of the Family Birth Center at St. Joseph.
To comply with the rigorous BFHI review process, St. Joseph nurses and medical staff took part in up to 20 hours of required education and the hospital made changes to its breastfeeding policy. “The result is that a mother who gives birth here will receive significantly more education in order to make an informed decision about feeding her baby, whether she chooses to breastfeed or use formula,” Stodola said. “When a mother has questions about feeding her baby, our doctors, nurses, midwives, and staff will all give consistent, evidence-based answers.”
“This recognition reflects CHI Franciscan’s commitment to provide excellent care for growing families,” said Debbie Raniero MBA, RNC, regional director of Women’s & Children’s Services for CHI Franciscan. “Because we are part of a larger system, we have changed practices in all of our hospitals, not just St. Joseph Medical Center.”
“Earning this distinction is cause for celebration,” said Raniero. “We couldn’t have achieved this without the support of the entire hospital, from our senior leadership right down to our housekeepers. We are all extremely excited, proud, and happy for our community.”