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Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center Receives Prestigious International Award

babyfriendly2Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center recently received a prestigious international recognition as a “Baby-Friendly Designated Birth Facility.”  The Baby-Friendly initiative is part of a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). It recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.

The designation culminates a five-year journey for the Lourdes’ Women’s and Children’s team, which began with a grant from the New Jersey Department of Health, Office of Nutrition and Fitness, and coordinated by the American Academy of Pediatrics — New Jersey, Pediatric Council on Research and Education. Currently, there are 390 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States. Lourdes is now one of only two Baby-Friendly designated hospitals in South Jersey, and one of eight in the state.

Based on the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding,” the award recognizes facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies. Nurses and physicians were required to complete 20 and three hours of education, respectively, along with annual training. The “Baby-Friendly” designation is then given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed, as well as practice and policy changes that were submitted to Baby Friendly USA during the 4-step designation journey known as the 4D Pathway to Baby Friendlyâ„¢ Designation. The award is maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps as demonstrated by quality processes.

“When you breastfeed, you start your child on a path to good health. For example, studies have shown that breastfeeding helps prevent childhood and adult obesity, which are major risk factors for diabetes and heart disease,” said Trish Cerveny, RN, Manager of Women’s and Children’s Services and Coordinator of the Baby Friendly Initiative at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center. “But Baby-Friendly is not just about exclusive breastfeeding. It is about the total care of the mother and baby. We’re proud of our team’s commitment to mothers and babies, and that we achieved this highly respected award.”

When the Baby-Friendly journey began, Lourdes had an exclusive breastfeeding rate only in the teens. Today, the rates remain consistently above the 40th percentile.   In addition, Lourdes’ recently received a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) score of 94 out of 100, significantly higher than state and national averages.

The Lourdes team collaborates with others in the community to promote Baby-Friendly activities, including Lourdes outpatient facilities, Women’s Healthcare of Collingswood, the South Jersey Perinatal Cooperative and Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

“It is important to collaborate with the entire community. Our patients are here for two or three days and go home. We have formed partnerships with key stakeholders in the community that provide our patients with the support that is needed well after discharge,” said Andrea Racobaldo, MSN RNC-OB, CBC, Corporate Director of Education and Baby-Friendly Initiative Coordinator at Lourdes.  “The feedback we have received from area providers has helped us to improve our care.”

For more information about the U.S. Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, visit www.babyfriendlyusa.org.

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