A Physician Group Serving Alameda Health System

Highland Celebrates Baby Friendly Hospital

Highland Hospital's Maternal Child Health team has welcomed a special new arrival – the coveted designation as a "Baby-Friendly Hospital." And among those celebrating is the ACMC Board of Trustees, which recently honored the team with a resolution recognizing the achievement.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to promote breast-feeding. Only 126 of the nation's 5,754 hospitals, three in the Bay area, have earned the title.

"We are thrilled and excited to be designated a Baby-Friendly organization," says Kimberly Horton, ACMC chief nursing executive. "This recognition confirms the great strides our team is making in the care that we give to new mothers and their babies. The designation is further evidence of Highland's well deserved local and national reputation for excellence and quality in women and infant services."

When Highland started measuring breast-feeding rates seven years ago, said Nurse Practitioner Michele Bunker-Alberts, a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, the exclusive breast-feeding rate was 26 percent on discharge. Now it's around 65 percent.

"It's a big transformation and it takes a lot of time," said Ms. Bunker-Alberts, who with others has championed breast-feeding at Highland for years. "To maintain this as a priority in the institution over time has been a pretty incredible process."

To qualify, hospitals must implement The Ten Steps to Successful Breast-feeding for Hospitals. The list sets out a course of health care procedures that focus on policies and training, and on education of mothers.

"The designation recognizes our efforts to give babies a great start," said Dr. Johara Chapman, ACMC chair of Maternal Child Health. "Children born at a Baby Friendly hospital are more likely to have better health as they grow and longer life expectancies as they age."

 

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