Anderson receives Baby-Friendly designation

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Anderson's designation as a Baby-Friendly facility means better education and outcomes for families. New parents Jessica and Ryan Smith received expert information on breastfeeding for baby Rhett from Reba Lee, Registered Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation consultant.

Anderson Regional Medical Center has been designated as a Baby-Friendly facility by Baby-Friendly, USA, Inc., the national authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. Anderson joins 580 facilities across the United States that have achieved this honor, 12 of which are located in Mississippi.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund to recognize hospitals that offer an optimal level of care for mothers and their babies. Baby-Friendly hospitals educate mothers on the importance of breastfeeding, provide outstanding maternity care, and achieve excellent infant feeding outcomes and mother/baby bonding.

“Our Birth Center staff has completed hundreds of hours of training over the course of four years to achieve this designation,"  John Anderson, president and CEO, said. "The training culminated in a rigorous on-site survey that our staff passed with zero recommendations for improvement. To say we are proud of them is an understatement. This is yet another example of evidence-based care brought to Meridian by our Anderson team, and a continuation of our approach to offer quality, comprehensive care in women’s and children’s health.”

Baby-Friendly practices are centered around parents making educated, informed decisions regarding feeding choices, bonding after delivery, and keeping the family together during the hospital stay. With the Baby-Friendly model, nursing care has been moved to the bedside instead of older, standardized nursing practices that separated mom and baby. The nursing staff is trained to make skilled observations and perform necessary procedures safely at the bedside. Even routine hearing tests are now completed in the room with the family.

“In the past, the newborn baby was taken to the nursery immediately after delivery where he/she was assessed, weighed, measured, monitored, given medications, and bathed before mom got to hold her baby," Lindsey Robertson, RN, CLC, Baby-Friendly Team Lead said. "Now the infant is placed in mom’s arms first, and all of those nursing procedures take place in the room with her. We have found that new parents appreciate the opportunity they now have to be with their baby during their hospital stay. However, we are prepared to support each family according to their personal birth experience goals and wishes. If no family member is present, our newborn nursery is still available to moms who need to rest after delivery.”

Over the past decade, studies have shown that breastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive health measures for mothers and newborns. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breastfeeding provides a protective effect against respiratory illnesses, ear infections, gastrointestinal diseases, asthma, allergies, diabetes, and leukemia. Maternal health benefits include decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers and an earlier return to pre-pregnancy weight.

“Anderson Lactation Center is staffed with two well-experienced International Board Certified Lactation Consultants," Reba Lee, RN, IBCLC said."We work tirelessly to create an atmosphere of support, ensuring that moms are successful in meeting their goals."

The Baby-Friendly Hospital designation is part of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi’s Maternity Quality Model to support healthy mothers and babies.

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