Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen was recently re-designated by the World Health Organization and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund as a “Baby-Friendly Hospital.” The designation recognizes the hospital’s comprehensive approach to supporting breastfeeding of newborns.
In 2009, First Lady of Texas Anita Perry, who is a former nurse, congratulated Texas Health Allen for being the first hospital in Texas to be recognized as a “Baby Friendly Hospital,” and now they have become the first hospital in Texas to be re-designated.
“We are extremely proud of our team at The Family Birthplace who has continued to maintain evidence-based practices over the past five years to protect and promote breastfeeding as the safest and healthiest nutrition for newborns,” said Christy Escandon, R.N., MBA, CENP, chief nursing officer at Texas Health Allen.
According to Baby-Friendly USA, the accrediting body for the WHO/UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in the United States, mothers who give birth at a Baby-Friendly hospital are more likely to initiate exclusive breastfeeding and more likely to sustain breastfeeding at six months and one year of age.
The re-designation means that Texas Health Allen has consistently maintained distinct high standards of care for breastfeeding families, and has carried out advocacy, education and policy work, supporting and promoting the benefits of breastfeeding. There are currently six other Baby-Friendly-designated hospitals in Texas – all within the Texas Health Resources system – and only 172 Baby-Friendly hospitals in the United States.
“Achieving this re-designation recognizes our commitment to giving babies born at our Family Birthplace the best possible start to a lifetime of good health,” said Catherine Johnson, B.S.N., MBA, RNC-OB, NEA-BC, director of Women’s and Children’s services at Texas Health Allen. “It confirms our team’s efforts in providing excellent breastfeeding support to our moms and their families and recognizes the hard work and commitment of our staff to providing our new families with an environment that is supportive of breastfeeding.”
Additionally, Texas Health Allen has received the IBCLC Care Award from the International Lactation Consultant Association in recognition for staffing professionals who hold the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® certification (IBCLC®) and providing a lactation program that is available five to seven days a week for breastfeeding families.
Vicki Gettel B.S.N., IBCLC, LCCE, FACCE, Baby-Friendly coordinator and lactation consultant at Texas Health Allen, holds the distinction of being IBCLC certified, as does Terri Boughnou R.N., IBCLC. They recently provided breastfeeding training for hospital care team members who care for new families. The staff also completed activities that protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
For more information on The Family Birthplace at Texas Health Allen visit www.Texashealth.org/Allen-
Story submitted by Melissa Smart