Developed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the Baby-Friendly designation recognizes health care providers who offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.
The distinction is held by just 382 hospitals and birth centers in the United States and only 10 in Minnesota. Two other Fairview hospitals also hold the Baby-Friendly designation: University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital (2012) and Fairview Northland Medical Center (2015).
“This is about giving mothers and babies the very best care,” said Rachel Dunnette, Fairview Lakes Medical Center director of inpatient nursing. “The Birthplace team of providers and nurses took on the challenge of earning this important designation. I’m truly proud of the team for their efforts to bring comprehensive breastfeeding support to all moms before, during and after delivery.”
To receive this designation, Fairview Lakes Medical Center met rigorous criteria for educating all moms on strategies for successful breast feeding—ranging from keeping their babies with them in their room during their hospital stay to the importance of skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth. The hospital also passed an extensive two-day site visit from Baby-Friendly USA experts.
Baby-Friendly USA reports that breastfed children have fewer and less serious illnesses than those who never receive breast milk, including reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome, childhood cancers and diabetes.
The organization also reports women who breastfeed experience decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancer, anemia and osteoporosis.