Newburyport, MA – Baby-Friendly USA, a credentialing program for hospitals, announced that Anna Jaques Hospital has received the prestigious international recognition as a Designated Baby-Friendly birth facility. Baby-Friendly USA is part of an international initiative led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer families an optimal level of care.
Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, this international award recognizes birth facilities that offer families the education, skills, and support needed to get off to the healthiest start and to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding.
Anna Jaques Hospital is one of only 14 hospitals in Massachusetts and the first on the North Shore to successfully accomplished earning the Baby-Friendly designation.
During the final assessment, a rigorous two-day survey, no deficiencies were cited under the Baby-Friendly model. Baby-Friendly surveyors shared that Anna Jaques “promotes an extraordinary dedication to community health, wellness, and passion to serve all mothers and infants. Staff exhibits a respectful and enthusiastic collaboration with community and state agencies to promote evidence-based prenatal and postpartum education and follow-up support for all mothers and infants.”
In 2013, Anna Jaques began a rigorous evaluation of internal policies and procedures on the path to become a Baby Friendly-designated hospital. A multidisciplinary team of nurses, midwives, lactation consultants, obstetricians, pediatricians, and community members implemented changes to foster compliance with the best practices for mothers and babies in the prenatal, delivery, and postpartum hospital stay. These include:
· Educating mothers prenatally on infant feeding and their hospital stay
· Encouraging skin-to-skin time immediately following delivery through the first feeding for both vaginal and cesarean deliveries
· Initiating breastfeeding within the first hour of birth
· Encouraging rooming in (mother and baby staying together 24/7) by ensuring hospital procedures do not routinely separate mother and baby
· Discouraging pacifier use until the mother’s milk supply is well established except for medical indications
· Offering the option of human donor breast milk for babies requiring supplementation.
Anna Jaques also recently received the 2018 Breastfeeding Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Anna Jaques is one of 14 birth hospitals recognized for implementing “Quiet Hours” within maternity units to allow mothers and newborns to rest, bond, practice skin-to-skin, and breastfeed.
“These recognitions exemplify our focus on fostering the most supportive environment possible for each family, while providing them with exceptional care and a personalized experience that honors their individual needs,” shares Alison Sekelsky, MSN, RNC, Director of Maternal Child Health.