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News / Clark County News

Legacy hospitals earn birth certification

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian Health Reporter
Published: August 9, 2015, 5:00pm

Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center and three other Legacy hospitals have been internationally recognized as baby-friendly birth hospitals.

The World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, deemed Legacy Salmon Creek, Legacy Good Samaritan, Legacy Emanuel and Legacy Meridian Park baby-friendly birth facilities after Legacy invested in a four-year process to reform traditional practices surrounding breast-feeding.

Baby-friendly hospitals promote breast-feeding and encourage mother-baby bonding by helping newborns breast-feed within the first hour, keeping newborns with mothers rather than in a nursery, avoiding pacifier use and not sending mothers home with free formula, according to a news release from Legacy.

“The benefits of breast-feeding to both mother and baby are indisputable,” said Dr. Lauren Rose, medical director of Legacy Family Birth Centers, in a news release. “Breast-feeding can be a very rewarding part of becoming a new mother, but it can also be one of the hardest. Becoming baby-friendly has allowed Legacy to create a supportive hospital environment that gives new moms a strong foundation for the breast-feeding process while they are still in the hospital and will benefit them even after they go home.”

Legacy Salmon Creek — the busiest family birth center in the Legacy Health system — is on track to delivery nearly 3,500 babies this year.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program that began in 1991. The designation is centered on implementation of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, which include written breast-feeding policies, education about the policies and benefits of breast-feeding, helping mothers initiate breast-feeding within an hour of birth, only giving infants breast milk, encouraging breast-feeding on demand, allowing mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours per day and establishing breast-feeding support groups.

Legacy Health is poised to achieve the designation at its fifth family birth center this fall, when Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center completes the certification process.

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Columbian Health Reporter