In 2012, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital – New Braunfels (CSRH – NB) began working towards Baby-Friendly status, an international designation which takes many months of planning and preparation to attain. Because of the commitment of Kathy Parkes, RN, IBCLC, and Deborah Ehrhardt, BA, IBCLC, Internationally Board Certified lactation consultants at CSRH – NB, and a group of physicians, registered nurses, administrators, WIC representatives, doulas, midwives, and dietitians, CSRH – NB has been accepted into the final designation phase of Baby-Friendly recognition and will have the opportunity to be assessed in 2015.
What is Baby-Friendly? It is a quality improvement and recognition program for maternity facilities that have created an optimal environment for appropriate infant feeding and mother-baby bonding. Baby-Friendly began in 1991 and is an international program co-administered by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in conjunction with Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) authorities in each country. Globally, there are currently more than 22,000 Baby-Friendly facilities, which undergo re-certification every five years, and in the United States, there are just 203. In Texas, there are seven facilities in the DFW area with the BFHI designation. The Baby-Friendly committee at CSRH – NB is diligently working to be designated as the eighth Baby-Friendly facility in Texas and the first in the Greater San Antonio area.
All available research points to the overwhelming benefits of breastfeeding to the health of infants, mothers, families, society, and the environment. The job of health care professionals is to provide as much information as possible for new parents to make an informed decision about feeding and nurturing their babies.
To attain the Baby-Friendly designation, a birth facility must:
- Implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding;
- Invite a Baby-Friendly survey team to the facility once the Ten Steps are in place, and
- Undergo an extensive on-site survey to evaluate the knowledge and practice of staff and the experiences of mothers and babies.
The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding include:
- Having a breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
- Training all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Informing all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Helping mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
- Showing mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.
- Giving newborn breastfed infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
- Practicing rooming-in; allowing mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
- Encouraging unrestricted breastfeeding.
- Giving no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
- Fostering the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and referring mothers to them on discharge from the Hospital.These Ten Steps have been demonstrated again and again by Associates at CSRH – NB to increase both initiation and duration of breastfeeding mothers.
“The Baby-Friendly committee at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital – New Braunfels has spent many months working towards achieving the Baby-Friendly recognition,” said Pat Carrier, President and CEO, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System. “We are pleased to build on our legacy of proven health care as we pave the way for other facilities to also achieve this distinction. I applaud our Associates for their commitment to our mission of extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ, to even the smallest patients we are privileged to serve.”
About CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System:
Founded in 1869 by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word of Houston and San Antonio, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa is a Catholic, faith-based, nonprofit health and wellness ministry dedicated to extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ and providing the highest quality medical care and services available. As one of the top health care organizations in South-Central Texas, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa has five hospital campuses, with campuses located in the South Texas Medical Center, in New Braunfels, in Westover Hills, and a short-stay surgical hospital in Alamo Heights. Located downtown, the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, formerly known as CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital, is the first hospital in San Antonio solely dedicated to the care of children. CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System also owns a majority interest in CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Physicians Ambulatory Surgery Centers – San Antonio, LLC, a joint venture physician partnership which is comprised of two outpatient surgery centers in San Antonio with facilities in Stone Oak and the Medical Center. Additionally, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System owns a majority interest in the CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Physicians Ambulatory Surgery Center in New Braunfels, a joint venture physician partnership. CHRISTUS Santa Rosa is the preferred health system of the San Antonio SPURS. For additional information on CHRISTUS Santa Rosa, visit www.christussantarosa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/christussantarosa and follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CSRHS.