UVA is one of about 600 hospitals nationally to receive the award from Baby-Friendly USA, and one of just eight Virginia hospitals. Hospitals earn the accolade by meeting standards of care designed to support breastfeeding mothers and their babies.
The standards are based on evidence-based practices shown to support breastfeeding, which include:
- Having a written breastfeeding policy and training all staff on how to carry it out.
- Discussing the benefits of breastfeeding when possible, as well as instructing and supporting new mothers in breastfeeding. This includes helping mothers breastfeed within an hour of giving birth and encouraging breastfeeding on demand.
- Allowing mothers and babies to remain together 24 hours a day.
- Encouraging the creation of breastfeeding support groups and referring new mothers to them after they are discharged from the hospital.
In addition, mothers who choose not to breastfeed should be instructed on how to safely feed formula to their babies.
UVA’s Breastfeeding Medicine Program supports new mothers and babies in several ways. Lactation consultants visit with new mothers after delivery, and consultations are available for mothers having breastfeeding challenges. Outpatient follow-up visits are also available through UVA’s Breastfeeding Medicine Clinic to assist mothers with any ongoing breastfeeding issues after they leave the hospital.
"It is an honor to work with UVA's healthcare team to best support mothers with their feeding choices,” said Katie Heck, RN, IBCLC, administrative coordinator and lactation consultant with the UVA Breastfeeding Medicine Program. “We are proud to help families throughout their journey from pregnancy, labor and delivery, postpartum and after they have gone home."
About Baby-Friendly USA
As the accrediting body and national authority for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in the United States, Baby-Friendly USA seeks to uphold the highest standards in infant feeding care by coordinating and conducting all activities necessary to confer the prestigious Baby-Friendly designation and ensure the widespread adoption of the BFHI in the US. Learn more about Baby-Friendly USA and the BFHI at www.babyfriendlyusa.org.