OLYMPIA FIELDS, Illinois – Franciscan Health Family Birth Center Olympia Fields is proud to announce that it has earned the highly prestigious international Baby-Friendly Designation after a rigorous five year review process conducted by Baby-Friendly USA, the organization responsible for bestowing this certification in the United States.
This distinguished honor demonstrates that Franciscan Health Family Birth Center Olympia Fields meets or exceeds the highest standards of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Receiving this designation means Franciscan Health follows written breastfeeding policies, including but not limited to:
- Franciscan Health staff is trained in implementing breastfeeding policies.
- Mothers and families are assisted with breastfeeding techniques.
- Breastfed babies are not given pacifiers or artificial nipples, and are only fed breast milk, unless medically necessary.
- Pregnant mothers are informed about the benefits and management of breastfeeding and are shown how to provide breast milk if separated from baby.
- Franciscan Health promotes the development of breastfeeding support groups, offers breastfeeding education classes, events, seminars and encourage participation.
This designation makes Franciscan Health Olympia Fields a part of an elite group of only 591 U.S. hospitals, and the first and only hospital in Chicago's south suburbs to earn such distinction.
"Baby-Friendly status is a benefit to our entire south suburban community that we serve," said Samir Wassef, MD, Franciscan Health Family Birth Center Director of Neonatology. "Breastfeeding is critical to the development of infants; including a wide range of health benefits along with a decreased risk of SIDS and decreased rate of infections. This designation proves we follow the gold standard of care in nutrition for our newborns."
The positive health effects of breastfeeding are well documented and widely recognized by health authorities throughout the world. The Surgeon General's 2011 Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding stated that "Breast milk is uniquely suited to the human infant's nutritional needs and is a live substance with unparalleled immunological and anti-inflammatory properties that protect against a host of illnesses and diseases for both mothers and children."
"The hospital experience strongly influences a mother's ability to start and continue breastfeeding," said Teresa Berki, RN, Lactation Consultant, Franciscan Health Family Birth Center. "We are committed to implementing evidence-based care through the Baby-Friendly designation to ensure that mothers delivering in our facility are fully supported."
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 is responsible for upholding 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 babyfriendlyusa.org.