Harris Health Ben Taub Hospital has again earned coveted international recognition as a Baby-Friendly® Hospital, joining a select number of healthcare facilities that meet or exceed rigorous guidelines promoting high levels of newborn breastfeeding and mother-baby bonding.
“As we celebrate this notable recognition for our team’s commitment to the care of our mothers and infants at Ben Taub Hospital, we look forward to when all mothers and parents can again have the adequate means to feed their newborns—be it by breastmilk or baby formula,” explains Glorimar Medina, MD, senior vice president and administrator, Ben Taub Hospital. “The current scarcity of baby formula in our country is troublesome and a great concern to us all.”
Becoming a Baby-Friendly Hospital is a comprehensive process based on meeting multiple evidence-based measures aimed at improving infant and maternal care. The prestigious recognition is based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a global initiative sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the U.S. authority for the program.
“We are overjoyed with this recognition that attests to our excellent care for women and newborns. However, it’s our community that is the real beneficiary of this designation because it reflects the tremendous hard work and dedication of our medical and nursing professionals,” says Suzanne Lundeen, PhD, RNC-OB, NEA-BC, administrative director of nursing, Women and Infant Services, Ben Taub Hospital. “Our staff is committed to ensuring that every woman who delivers a baby at our hospital is given the resources, information and support needed to help her and her baby get the best, healthiest start in life.”
The Baby-Friendly designation is based on scientific evidence that points to breastmilk and breastfeeding lowering risks for certain diseases and improving health outcomes for both mothers and babies. With the correct information and the right supports in place, under normal circumstances, most women who choose to breastfeed at Ben Taub can successfully achieve their goal. To achieve Baby-Friendly, staff from nursing and clinical services collaborated in the process for more than two and half years.
“Attaining the BFHI standards has definite costs, both in human and financial resources, yet the savings in terms of the quality of care provided, the resulting decrease in morbidity and mortality associated with optimal breastfeeding, and customer satisfaction, are well worth the investment. Baby-Friendly USA is pleased to count Harris Health System Ben Taub Hospital among our Re-Designated facilities,” says Becky Fallon, accreditation director, Baby-Friendly USA.
The work of Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. and its implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in the United States is founded on the fact that human milk fed through the mother’s own breast is the most normal way for human infants to be nourished. Breastfeeding is the natural biological conclusion to pregnancy and an important mechanism for the continued normal development of the infant.