HOUSTON (April 24, 2015)

Baby-Friendly USA announced this week that Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital has received prestigious international recognition as a Baby-Friendly® designated birth facility. A hospital can only be deemed “Baby-Friendly” after the completion of a rigorous onsite assessment survey and a final review of the External Review Board.

“We are so honored to receive this significant acknowledgement, becoming one of only two hospitals in Houston, and only 10 hospitals in Texas, to officially be designated ‘Baby-Friendly,’” said Susie Distefano, Senior Vice President and CEO of Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. “This important recognition is a result of the hard work and commitment from all of our Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital staff and affiliated UTHealth physicians who continuously work to provide our mothers and patients with the highest quality of care.”

Baby-Friendly USA is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, this international award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies. Nationwide, there are a total of 255 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers.

Based on the results of data collected during the onsite assessment survey and the final review of the External Review Board, it was determined that Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital has implemented all of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and has met the requirement of purchasing breast milk substitutes.

To prepare the hospital for the designation process, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital recently participated in the Best Fed Beginnings initiative, run by the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Best Fed Beginnings was a first-of-its-kind, nationwide quality improvement initiative to help a select 89 hospitals across the country, of which Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital was one, improve maternity care and increase the number of Baby-Friendly designated hospitals in the United States.

“Achieving the Baby-Friendly designation is not an easy task,” said Caryn Douma, director of patient care for quality and safety at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. “The criteria that must be met are challenging, but they are challenging for a reason: they are designed to set the standards for the best possible breastfeeding support for mothers and infants in the maternity setting. Today, we are proud to be added to the official list of the top hospitals and birth centers around the country recognized for providing the highest quality of care for both mother and baby.”