We are proud to share that Valley has once again been named a Baby-Friendly hospital after a rigorous re-designation process by Baby-Friendly USA, the organization responsible for awarding this certification in the United States.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program that was launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to promote, support, and encourage breast/chest feeding. BFHI recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer optimal infant feeding support and parent/baby bonding.
“Here at Valley, roughly 95% of our patients begin breastfeeding during their hospital stay. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative gives us the tools and guidance to help our patients reach their breast/chest feeding goals through prenatal education, skin-to-skin following delivery, rooming in, and our newly launched donor milk program. We recognize the importance of getting Valley babies the very best start by supporting individual feeding choices,” says Lisa Hewson, Nurse Manager for The Birth Center.
Valley first received the Baby-Friendly designation in 2017. There are more than 20,000 Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers throughout the world, 602 of which are in the United States.
The two-year process follows the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. As part of the requirements:
- All staff that care for infants are required to complete a nine-hour breastfeeding training course, as well as ongoing yearly staff education.
- Hospital policies are reviewed to ensure they align with best feeding practices, rooming in (baby stays in birthing parent’s hospital room), and giving babies unlimited access to breast/chest feeding on demand.
- Valley’s Purchasing department reviews formula purchasing to ensure that we are paying a fair market price, and The Birth Center team works to not promote formula supplementation unless medically indicated.
- Education is provided to patients prenatally, as well as in the hospital so they can make informed decisions about infant feeding.
Donor Milk Program Expands to Babies in Valley’s Postpartum Unit
In August 2023, Valley’s Birth Center launched a new program to offer donor breastmilk to all well-newborns in the postpartum unit. All babies born at Valley are eligible to receive donor human milk for the first 72 hours of life. Other babies, like those born prematurely or with medical conditions, have been able to receive donor milk in Valley’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) since 2014.
Donor milk is breastmilk from lactating people who donate their milk for babies in need. Donor milk can offer a bridge for babies as a milk supply is established, or as a supplement for babies with low blood sugar or other conditions that may indicate supplementation as an alternative to formula.
Donor milk is sourced from Mother’s Milk Bank. All donors are screened to ensure the milk contains have no harmful substances, and the milk is tested, pasteurized, and stored using clean and safe techniques.
“At Valley, we are committed to getting our tiny humans off to a great start. If breastmilk is your choice, we are happy to support it,” says Lisa Hewson, Nurse Manager, The Birth Center.
- Finally, assessors from Baby-Friendly USA conduct a two-day onsite survey to review policies and practices, as well as interview staff, providers, and patients at Valley’s Birth Center and supporting clinics.
“We here at Valley respect and honor all feeding choices; our goal is to partner with you. I am so proud of my team for this re-designation, and for Valley’s commitment to our community to promote the best feeding practices for babies,” says Hewson.
Lactation Services at Valley
Valley’s board-certified lactation consultants are available 7 days a week, 365 days a year for inpatient support with feeding goals. They are also available for outpatient visits at any time during a parent’s lactation journey. Learn more about Lactation Services at Valley.