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Baby Friendly InititiatveHaving a baby is a life-changing experience that can be both exciting and scary. We understand that each pregnancy is different and that there may be questions or concerns you may have. Patients should find comfort in knowing that Chester County Hospital in West Chester, PA delivers about 2,900 babies annually.

At Chester County Hospital, our caring and experienced team of obstetricians, pediatricians, nurses, and lactation consultants, come to work every day ready to provide you and your baby with the highest quality of care. As part of our commitment to providing families in Chester County, PA with the best experience possible, we have worked hard to become a Baby-Friendly Hospital. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global initiative created to help improve the care of pregnant women, mothers and infants. It is endorsed and supported by the AAP, ACOG, AAFP, AWHONN, CDC, WHO, the U.S. Surgeon General and others.

Baby-Friendly supports informed decision-making about infant feeding and promotes appropriate supplementation when medically indicated. Baby-Friendly requires that our nurses and physicians be educated on how to assess breastfeeding, teaches parents how to know babies are getting enough, and connects all families with feeding support services for after discharge.

At Chester County Hospital, our policies have always aligned with the most current recommendations of the AAP, ACOG and other health bodies – both before and after Baby-Friendly designation.  We strive to provide the best care for our families which is why we maintain these evidence-based practices, and ensure they are safely implemented at Chester County Hospital:

1. We Believe Mothers and Babies Belong Together.

Immediately following the birth of your baby at Chester County Hospital, you will have the opportunity to participate in the Welcome Hour. During this special time, we encourage skin-to-skin contact between mothers and newborns to begin bonding and initiate nursing (should you decide to breastfeed). Skin-to-skin contact begins when your baby is placed belly-down directly on your chest after birth. Skin-to-skin contact is also a great thing for dads to do. ;It has all the same benefits for the baby as skin-to-skin with the mother and it's also a great way for dads to begin to build that special bond with their baby.

Benefits include:

  • Calms and relaxes both mother and baby
  • Regulates heart rate and breathing in the baby
  • Encourages early infant breastfeeding, weight gain and infant development
  • Promotes parent/newborn attachment and confidence in parenting
  • Can reduce infant crying

All infants can do skin-to-skin care if they are medically well and considered stable. This practice can occur after both vaginal and Caesarean delivery. If your baby is unable to do skin-to-skin in the first hour of life, ask your healthcare team when the appropriate time is for your infant to be offered skin-to-skin care.

We encourage you to continue practicing skin to skin care during your stay and when you return home.

2. We Believe in Creating an Environment of Safety and Comfort.

At Chester County Hospital, our rooms are specially designed for you and your family's comfort. Your nurse will care for you and your baby in your room. There is a comfortable couch for your visitors during the day that converts into a bed so your partner or support person can stay overnight with you and your baby. Whether you want to eat a meal, take a shower or a nap, having a support person with you will help you share the care of your baby.

All routine infant care (except circumcisions) can be done in your room while you are present. This practice is less stressful for your baby and allows you to learn about your baby's health as you watch and ask questions.

Rooming In: 
Shortly after arriving in your room at Chester County Hospital, your nurse will review our safety guidelines with you and ask you to watch a short safety video. When you and your partner want to sleep we encourage you to place your baby on his/her back in the bassinet. We support the  Academy of Pediatrics Safe Sleep Guidelines, which encourages you and your baby to sleep in the same room on  separate sleep surfaces for at least the first six months after birth to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Research shows that mothers and babies sleep better when they are in the same room. When you and your baby are together, you learn more about normal baby behavior while having our knowledgeable staff nearby to answer any question and provide support for diaper changes, burping, calming and feeding.

If you or your baby needs medical attention or there is another reason you or your support person cannot care for your baby safely, we have a Nursery staffed to attend to your baby’s needs.

Chester County Hospital also participates in Quiet Time hours daily from 2 PM to 4 PM. In order to provide our patients with much needed rest, we ask that only your support person visit during this time. Lights are dimmed, doors are closed, and interruptions are limited to essential care only. We know that parenting is a 24/7 job. Most babies are awake for some of the night, so setting aside this time allows our families to take a break from visitors, rest, and recharge.

Our staff checks on patients hourly to ensure patient safety, but if you need help at any time, a staff member is just a call bell away.

3. We believe in teaching mothers the best practices in infant feeding.

How you decide to feed your baby is a very important decision. Choosing whether to breastfeed or formula feed your baby is one of the biggest decisions expectant and new parents will make. The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that breast milk is the optimal source of infant nutrition. Throughout your pregnancy you will receive information about the benefits of human milk and breastfeeding from your healthcare provider, so you can make an educated, informed decision about infant feeding. When you arrive in the Labor and Delivery Unit at Chester County Hospital, you will be asked how you plan to feed your baby. This is so the team knows what support and guidance you will need during your stay with us.

If you would like help deciding how to feed your baby, please read the following booklets and handouts:

If you have questions about feeding, please call the lactation warm line at 610-738-2582 or learn more by taking a class or tour.

Over 80% of the mothers who deliver at Chester County Hospital choose to breastfeed. We encourage moms to start breastfeeding in the first hour after birth and focus on breastfeeding exclusively during your stay with us. Mothers who are separated from their babies for medical reasons will be shown how to express breastmilk to give to their baby.

Our nurses and lactation consultants will carefully assess how your baby is feeding to address any early problems. They will assist and support you in breastfeeding so that you feel more confident when you go home. Should any breastfeeding worries arise after you return home, contact our staff for support by calling the warm line at 610-738-2582

Formula Feeding:
Formula is available at Chester County Hospital if you choose to formula feed or if it is medically necessary.  You do not have to bring your own. Staff members will educate parents on the safe and appropriate methods of formula mixing, handling, storage and paced bottle feeding. You will also receive a written instruction for formula preparation to take home.

Our goal at Chester County Hospital is to create an experience of excellence and respect. Your questions are important to us. We are available and happy to answer any questions you have.

For Questions or Comments about the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative at Chester County Hospital, feel free to contact us at 610-738-2582.

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