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August 19, 2015

UVA earns baby-friendly hospital award

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University of Virginia Children’s Hospital and UVA Women’s Services have earned a prestigious designation for providing the highest level of care for new mothers and their babies.

UVA is one of fewer than 300 U.S. hospitals to be recognized as a Baby-Friendly ® Designated birth facility by Baby-Friendly USA, which is part of an international initiative led by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund.

The award was earned after an in-person survey by a Baby-Friendly USA team found UVA meets all of the conditions for designation, including:

Regularly communicating a written breastfeeding policy to all healthcare staff Training staff on how to implement the breastfeeding policy Educating pregnant women about the benefits of breastfeeding and how to manage breastfeeding Helping mothers begin breastfeeding within an hour of giving birth Only giving infants breast milk unless medically indicated or if a mother requests formula Enabling mothers and infants to stay together 24 hours a day Establishing and referring mothers to breastfeeding support groups after they are discharged from the hospital.

During pregnancy, UVA obstetricians and nurses work to educate expectant mothers and support their plans to breastfeed their babies. Following delivery, UVA Children’s Hospital’s Breastfeeding Medicine program provides both inpatient and outpatient services for new mothers, including a breastfeeding medicine outpatient clinic at the Battle Building to assist new mothers and babies with breastfeeding questions or issues. Lactation consultants are available to visit new mothers after delivery and provide ongoing support for mothers with breastfeeding challenges.

“We are honored to see the efforts of our team to assist new moms as they breastfeed recognized with the Baby-Friendly designation,” said Ann Kellams, MD, director of UVA’s Breastfeeding Medicine program. “Breastfeeding brings so many health benefits to both mothers and babies, and our team works hard to provide them with the best possible support.”

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