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For Immediate Release December 05, 2019

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Kelly Swan:

High-Risk Obstetrics Hospital Receives Prestigious Designation through Adoption of International Infant Feeding Standards

The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) is proud to announce that it has achieved the highly prestigious international Baby-Friendly designation after a rigorous review process conducted by Baby-Friendly USA, the organization responsible for bestowing this certification in the United States.

“We are extremely proud to be recognized for the hard work of our women’s and children’s services team throughout the Baby-Friendly process,” says Mohan Suntha, MD, MBA, president and chief executive officer at the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS). “We are committed to providing the support, education and resources that families need to successfully initiate breastfeeding, and continue breastfeeding when they leave our care.”

This distinguished honor demonstrates that UMMC is adhering to the highest standards of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. These standards are built on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a set of evidence-based practices recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for optimal infant feeding support in the precious first days of a newborn’s life.

“Research has shown that the hospital experience strongly influences a mother’s ability to start and continue breastfeeding,” says Christopher Harman, MD, chair and Sylvan Frieman, MD Endowed Professor in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), and director of the Center for Advanced Fetal Care. “By implementing evidence-based care through the Baby-Friendly designation we will ensure that mothers delivering in our center have the most positive, encouraging breastfeeding experience they can. Our program recognizes there are those who cannot or decide not to breastfeed – they, too, are fully supported.”

The positive health effects of breastfeeding are well documented and widely recognized by health authorities throughout the world. For example, the Surgeon General’s 2011 Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding stated that “Breast milk is uniquely suited to the human infant’s nutritional needs and is a live substance with unparalleled immunological and anti-inflammatory properties that protect against a host of illnesses and diseases for both mothers and children.”

“This designation is the culmination of a lot of hard work and determination across our organization, all with a goal of helping families get off to a good start,” says Monika Bauman, MS, BSN, RN, NEA-BC, patient care services director for women’s and children’s health at UMMC. “We are proud to offer an environment that supports best practices shown to increase breastfeeding exclusivity and duration and are committed to give moms who choose to breastfeed the best chance for success.”

UMMC joins a growing list of more than 20,000 Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers throughout the world, 593 of which are in the United States. These facilities provide an environment that supports breastfeeding while respecting every woman’s right to make the best decision for herself and her family. 

“This recognition demonstrates our commitment to supporting families in integrating breastfeeding into their day-to-day lives, and serving as a trusted resource for mothers through their baby’s first year of life and beyond,” says Steven J. Czinn, MD, the Drs. Rouben and Violet Jiji Endowed Professor of Pediatrics and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at UMSOM and director of the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.

About UMMC’s Breastfeeding Program

UMMC’s breastfeeding program includes preventive care, with resources offered during pregnancy to assess and provide information on how to successfully initiatebreastfeeding. Assistance continues after the baby is born as UMMC helps families overcome breastfeeding challenges, providing accurate information and continuing to support them as their baby grows.

Certified lactation consultants visit mothers throughout the hospital including on the labor and delivery unit, mother-baby unit and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Every labor and delivery nurse and every mother-baby nurse at UMMC has completed at least 20 hours of breastfeeding education, and patient care technicians have completed eight hours.

Free breastfeeding classes are offered to patients receiving prenatal care at a University of Maryland women’s health practice. Classes for mothers with special circumstances, such as breastfeeding multiples or nursing a sick or premature infant, are taught one-on-one by a certified lactation consultant. To assist families returning to work or school, UMMC offers a return-to-work pumping class.

UMMC offers a free community breastfeeding support group staffed by a certified lactation consultant. A warm line is available 24/7 for mothers who have breastfeeding questions, as well as email for non-urgent questions. A private Facebook group is available for patients to interact via social media with certified lactation consultants and other breastfeeding families. There is another group especially for breastfeeding employees.

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About the University of Maryland Medical Center
The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) is comprised of two hospitals in Baltimore: an 800-bed teaching hospital Downtown – the flagship institution of the 14-hospital University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) – and a 200-bed community teaching hospital, UMMC Midtown Campus. UMMC is a national and regional referral center for trauma, cancer care, neurosciences, cardiac care, diabetes and endocrinology, women’s and children’s health. All physicians on staff at the Downtown flagship hospital are faculty physicians of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. At UMMC Midtown Campus, faculty physicians work alongside community physicians to provide patients with the highest quality care. UMMC Midtown Campus was founded in 1881 and is located one mile away from the Downtown Campus. For more information, visit umm.edu.

About the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital
The University of Maryland Children’s Hospital at the University of Maryland Medical Center is recognized throughout Maryland and the mid-Atlantic region as a resource for critically and chronically ill children. UMCH physicians and staff excel in combining state-of-the-art medicine with family-centered care. More than 100 physicians specialize in understanding how to treat conditions and diseases in children, including congenital heart conditions, asthma, epilepsy and gastrointestinal disorders. The Drs. Rouben and Violet Jiji Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) provides the highest level of care to the tiniest newborns. To learn more about the University of Maryland Children's Hospital, please visit http://umm.edu/childrens.

About Baby-Friendly USA
As the accrediting body and national authority for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in the United States, Baby-Friendly USA is responsible for upholding the highest standards in infant feeding care by coordinating and conducting all activities necessary to confer the prestigious Baby-Friendly designation and ensure the widespread adoption of the BFHI in the US. Learn more about Baby-Friendly USA and the BFHI at www.babyfriendlyusa.org.