Pictured below: Amanda Henry practices safe skin-to-skin after giving birth at Chester County Hospital.
(West Chester, PA) - Chester County Hospital has received prestigious international recognition as a designated Baby-Friendly birth facility by Baby-Friendly USA.
Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative works to improve the care of pregnant women, mothers and infants. The goal of the Baby-Friendly initiative is to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Surgeon General, American Academy of Pediatrics, and many other health care groups encourage hospitals to become Baby-Friendly.
"Achieving Baby-Friendly designation is a testament to Chester County Hospital's commitment to ensuring the healthiest start for all babies born at the hospital," said Amy C. Latyak BSN, RN, CCE, CBC, Coordinator, Childbirth Education Program.
In order to receive Baby-Friendly Designation hospitals must incorporate and follow the 10 steps to successful breastfeeding which include keeping mothers and babies together, feeding on cue, breastfeeding support groups, prenatal education about optimal infant feeding, teaching mothers how to initiate and maintain lactation, and safe formula preparation for bottle feeding babies. In addition, 100 percent of the hospital's Maternal/Child staff has to have completed Baby Friendly education and perform infant care and exams in the mother's room.
In support of its Baby Friendly designation, Chester County Hospital has also adopted a "Family Centered" model of treatment. This method ensures that education about infant care and feeding practices are offered and families are encouraged to make informed decisions about what is best for themselves and their babies. In addition, whether a mother has a vaginal or a caesarean birth, she gets to experience the hospital's "Welcome Hour"- 60 minutes of skin-to-skin time for mother and baby bonding immediately after birth. Healthy babies and their mothers are also encouraged to stay together and practice "rooming in."
"Rooming in allows new parents to understand their child's behaviors and recognize their baby's feeding cues. Research also shows that mothers and babies sleep better when they are in the same room," Robin Frees, Lactation Consultant, added.
When a baby requires special medical attention or a mother or support person cannot care for the baby safely while rooming in, the hospital's fully staffed Nursery is available to attend to the infant's needs. Chester County Hospital's knowledgeable Lactation Consultants, nurses and Certified Breast Feeding Counselors are always nearby throughout this process, seven days a week, to answer any questions families may have and provide support for diaper changes, burping, calming and feeding.
"We are inspired by the entire Chester County Hospital team who have embraced this initiative and have worked diligently to help make this designation possible," Fran Doyle MSN, RN, CNML Director, Maternal Child Services, shared.
To date, there are 574 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States and 14 in Pennsylvania. Chester County Hospital is the first hospital in Chester County, PA to achieve the Baby Friendly Designation. Along with Chester County Hospital, Lancaster General Health's Women and Babies Hospital, which was Pennsylvania's first hospital to receive the designation, Pennsylvania Hospital (PAH) and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), have also been awarded the Baby Friendly Designation, confirming Penn Medicine's commitment to healthy mothers and healthy children."
"This designation recognizes hospitals and birth centers that provide new mothers with the information, confidence, encouragement and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding and that also promote mother-baby bonding for all new mothers and babies," Patricia Ward, MSN, RNC, Manager Mother Baby Unit, explained.
About Chester County Hospital
Founded in 1892 as the county's first hospital, the non-profit has grown into a 248-bed acute-care inpatient facility in West Chester, PA. It also has outpatient services in Exton, PA; West Goshen, PA; New Garden, PA; West Grove, PA: Jennersville, PA and Kennett Square, PA. In 2013, Chester County Hospital became part of Penn Medicine, which is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to medical education, biomedical research, and excellent patient care. In addition to quality-driven medical and surgical services, Chester County Hospital also offers home health, inpatient hospice and skilled nursing care; occupational medicine; outpatient laboratory, radiology and physical therapy services; wound care; cardiopulmonary rehab; and a prenatal clinic for the under-served. In 2020, Chester County Hospital will complete the largest expansion in its history. The project will welcome a state-of-the-art procedural platform with 15 operating room suites, a 99-bed patient tower, a new main entrance and an expanded and renovated Emergency Department. Learn More! >>