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DeKalb Medical earns Baby Friendly Designation

January 14, 2015

DeKalb Medical has earned the international “Baby-Friendly” Hospital Initiative (BFHI) designation from Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. DeKalb Medical is the first hospital in Georgia to achieve this prestigious designation. In addition to the “Baby-Friendly” designation, the hospital was also awarded a 5-STAR Hospital Recognition from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

“This is a great accomplishment for our hospital and we could not be more proud,” said Rose McKelvie, DeKalb Medical, Executive Director, Women and Infant Services.  “It has been a long journey and a lot of work but we are committed to bringing the best childbirth options to expecting mothers and families in the community.”

The designation process began in June 2012, when DeKalb Medical was chosen as one of 90 hospitals in the United States to participate in the Best Fed Beginnings Collaborative. Best Fed Beginnings is a project for improving breastfeeding rates in the U.S. by the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ), with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and aligned with Baby-Friendly USA. The Best Fed Beginnings project is an active participant of DeKalb Medical achieving the Baby-Friendly Hospital designation.

“To be one of the 90 hospitals selected, and one of the seven selected in Georgia, says a lot about where we are as a facility,” McKelvie continued. “As a hospital, we decided that the best way to continue to lead in maternity was to work towards the “Baby-Friendly” designation in conjunction with Baby-Friendly USA.”

Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the U.S. authority for the implementation of Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (“BFHI”), a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Based on the Ten Steps of Successful Breastfeeding, this prestigious international award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently there are 227 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States. The “Baby-Friendly” designation is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. The award is maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps as demonstrated by quality processes.

“This is not only a change in hospital procedure, but also a cultural mindset,” stated Dr. Cathy Bonk, OB/GYN and DeKalb Medical board member. “With this mindest, we learned, educated and instilled the 10 steps of “Baby-Friendly” designation. This was imperative to us and also led to our Five-Star designation.”

The Five-Star designation is awarded to hospitals that have accomplished all 10 steps of the “Baby-Friendly” designation.

For more information on the “Baby-Friendly” designation or to speak with one of DeKalb Medical’s physicians, please visit www.dekalbmedical.org.