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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.

Columbian Health Reporter