Baby Friendly Hospital

When St. Francis Eastside (formerly St. Francis Women’s & Family Hospital) opened its doors in 1991, it was founded on philosophies that truly put mothers – and their babies – first. Among other innovations that were leading edge at the time, it was the only hospital in the area that encouraged the “rooming in” philosophy, encouraging newborns to stay with their mothers in their rooms for the duration of the hospital stay. More than 20 years later, St. Francis remains on the forefront of optimal health for moms and babies, and is proud to have been recognized a “Baby Friendly” hospital.

The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program that was launched by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund to encourage and recognize hospitals that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding. It assists hospitals in giving all mothers the information, confidence, and skills necessary to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies or feeding formula safely, and gives special recognition to hospitals that have done so.

To be designated as a Baby Friendly Hospital, we must adhere to The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. These ten steps were developed by a team of global experts and consist of evidence-based practices that have been shown to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration.

The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff. 
  2. Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
  6. Give infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated. 
  7. Practice rooming in - allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand. 
  9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants. 
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital.

The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding form the basis of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a worldwide breastfeeding quality improvement project created by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund.

Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers also uphold the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes by offering parents support, education, and educational materials that promote the use of human milk rather than other infant food or drinks, and by refusing to accept or distribute free or subsidized supplies of breast milk substitutes, nipples, and other feeding devices.

What Baby Friendly Means For You

Hospitals and birthing centers with the Baby-Friendly designation are prepared to help you and your new baby get off to the best start in regard to infant feeding. Baby Friendly hospitals have demonstrated that they meet the gold standard for mother/baby care practices related to breastfeeding.

After delivery, your baby will stay close to you so that he or she can breastfeed as soon as he or she is ready. Our policies also allow you and your baby to stay together day and night (assuming your baby doesn't need special care in the NCU) so you have the best chance to get to know each other. Being together gives you more opportunities to learn about normal baby behavior, while knowing that knowledgeable staff can answer your questions about your baby and breastfeeding.

Our nurses and Lactation Consultants will carefully assess your baby’s feeding so that any early problems can be taken care of quickly. They also will assist you in breastfeeding so that you feel more confident. Furthermore, if breastfeeding worries arise after you and your baby go home, our Lactation Consultants are available by  phone or by in person appointments to help you solve feeding problems.

Please note: while we encourage and support breastfeeding, we will not ignore or deny the needs of those moms who choose to formula-feed their babies. They will still be given formula for their feedings while in our care.