MU's Women's and Children's Hospital receives global distinction
COLUMBIA - University of Missouri Health Care said Tuesday its Women's and Children's Hospital earned the "Baby-Friendly" designation from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), making it the fourth hospital in Missouri to earn the distinction. (To see more pictures, view our Facebook gallery.)
MU Health said the requirements for earning the designation were:
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff
- Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy
- Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding
- Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth
- Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants
- Give infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated
- Practice "rooming in" - allowing mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand
- Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and referring mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center
Dr. Courtney Barnes, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the MU School of Medicine, said, "The Baby-Friendly designation required our entire medical team to implement a comprehensive, detailed plan."
A news release from MU Health Care said in part, "The babies born at MU Women's and Children's Hospital are never taken far from their mothers, unless health concerns warrant it. This gives moms and babies the best chance to get to know each other. The first few days of life are believed to offer an optimum opportunity for bonding to take place between mother and baby."
MU Health Care said, "If a mother decides not to breastfeed, the staff supports her decision and provides the best feeding options for the infant's needs."
MU Health Care said other Missouri hospitals with the "Baby-Friendly" distinction were Fitzgibbon Hospital in Marshall, Hannibal Regional Hospital in Hannibal and Truman Medical Center in Kansas City.