Orange County's First Baby-Friendly Hospital
In 2009 St. Joseph Hospital became the first hospital in Orange County
to be designated as "Baby Friendly." We were re-designated in
2014. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global effort undertaken
by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's
Fund (UNICEF). It galvanizes caregivers to give new mothers the information,
confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding
their infants, and recognizes hospitals and birth centers giving this
optimal level of care.
More than two decades of research have established that breast milk is
perfectly suited to nourish infants and protect them from illness. Breast-fed
infants have lower rates of hospital admissions, ear infections, diarrhea,
rashes, allergies and other medical problems than bottle-fed babies, according
to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The greatest benefits are derived
when babies are breastfed exclusively (breast milk is their only food)
for the first six months of life.
Click here to read our breastfeeding policy.
St. Joseph Hospital has consistently ranked among the highest Orange County
hospitals for breastfeeding rates. The hospital staff worked for four
years to thoroughly implement Baby-Friendly policies. According to research,
hospitals that implement Baby-Friendly policies achieve higher breastfeeding rates.
Baby-Friendly designation is granted after a rigorous on-site survey is
completed. St. Joseph Hospital was surveyed in 2009 to become the 80th
hospital nationwide given the Baby-Friendly designation.
To maintain the award a hospital must:
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all
- Train all healthcare staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
- Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they
are separated from their infants.
- Give infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically
- Practice "rooming in"-- allow mothers and infants to remain together
24 hours a day.
- Encourage unrestricted breastfeeding.
- Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers
to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.
Beyond these practices, St. Joseph Hospital provides encouragement and
support for breastfeeding via pre- and post-natal breastfeeding
classes offered on an ongoing basis. The hospital's
Stork Stop Boutique offers a wide range of lactation supplies including lactation bras, nursing
clothing and feeding accessories.
Support for the breastfeeding mother is also rendered in the critical time
between hospital discharge and the first visit with a physician. Follow-up
appointments are made at the
Mother Baby Assessment Center for baby and mom a few days after they leave St. Joseph Hospital. In addition
to being Orange County's first Baby-Friendly designated hospital,
St. Joseph Hospital is one of the only hospitals in Orange County providing
this after-discharge care for growing families.