Published on February 15, 2018

GMC-Davenport Receives “Baby-Friendly’’ Designation

Baby Friendly Designation

Genesis Medical Center, Davenport has been designated a Baby-Friendly USA© birth center, which recognizes maternity care best practices.

Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund.

The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers offering an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, this international award recognizes birth facilities offering breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

“This has been an important journey for our entire staff and for babies born at Genesis BirthCenter, Davenport,’’ said Kimberly Nimrick, MSN, RNC-OB, manager of the Genesis BirthCenter in Davenport. “We’ve worked hard to provide education, support and care to new mothers and their babies to ensure they get a healthy start.’’

Genesis BirthCenter, Davenport is the first birth facility in the region and the third in Iowa to earn Baby-Friendly designation.

In addition to a number of steps taken to encourage breastfeeding, Genesis BirthCenter, Davenport also underwent a site visit from Baby-Friendly USA to confirm the center was meeting the standards for designation.

“This designation recognizes all of the efforts of our staff to provide education and support encouraging the healthy choice of breastfeeding,’’ Nimrick said.

According to Baby-Friendly USA, data shows significant health benefits for infants who breastfeed and their mothers.

Breast-milk contains antibodies and other live cells known to lower the rate of ear infections, pneumonia and diarrheal illnesses, as well as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, type 1 diabetes and obesity. For women, breastfeeding decreases the risk of ovarian and breast cancers, as well as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Genesis BirthCenter, Davenport underwent a three-year, hospital-based quality improvement initiative that focused on maternity practices leading to Baby-Friendly designation.

“The Genesis BirthCenter in Davenport is very excited to be among the first birth centers in Iowa to earn this designation that fosters the best care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding,” said Kenneth Naylor, M.D., an OB/GYN and medical director of the Genesis BirthCenter in Davenport. “We’re proud that our breastfeeding rates already exceed the national average; however, we want to do even more to support mothers who breastfeed and also to support safe feeding practices for those mothers who are not able to or choose not to breastfeed.”

As part of this effort, the Genesis BirthCenter in Davenport received ongoing support in breastfeeding practices from experienced coaches, as well as training and resource support in lactation education.

More birthing facilities in the United States are becoming Baby-Friendly designated. The pathway to designation provides facilities the opportunity to:

  • Deliver patient-centered care
  • Improve health outcomes for mothers and babies
  • Improve patient satisfaction
  • Elevate the reputation and standards of the birthing facility
  • Develop a professional environment of competence
  • Build leadership and teamwork skills among staff
  • Meet Joint Commission maternity care standards for exclusive breast milk feeding
  • Meet corporate compliance requirements
  • Achieve Healthy People 2020 goals for breastfeeding

Mothers who give birth at Baby-Friendly hospitals and birthing centers are more likely to initiate exclusive breastfeeding and more likely to sustain breastfeeding at six months and one year of age, perhaps because of the institutional support for breastfeeding at these facilities.

Because the process of attaining Baby-Friendly designation compels facilities to examine, challenge and modify longstanding policies and procedures, the process also strengthens the organization by enhancing leadership skills, increasing staff competence, and improving patient satisfaction.

The BirthCenter in Davenport has experienced lactation consultants who assist new mothers with breastfeeding and offers a Breastfeeding Basics class and breastfeeding support group. The BirthCenter also practices “The Golden Hour” right after birth.

“During their first hour of life, newborn babies are dried off, placed skin-to-skin on the mother’s chest, and covered with a blanket to promote bonding and help the baby adjust to the outside world,” Dr. Naylor said. “Not only does this quiet time of skin-to-skin contact stabilize breathing, heart rate and blood sugar, but it also stimulates the baby’s natural instinct to breastfeed.”

“Breastfeeding is natural, but new families often need support,’’ said Genesis lactation specialist Julie Cutler, RN, IBCLC, Genesis BirthCenter, Davenport. “The International Board-Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) and staff at the BirthCenter in Davenport are there to assist new mothers with breastfeeding. This allows them to breastfeed more successfully and have an easier transition to home and the workplace.’’

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, launched in the United States in 1996, designates as “Baby-Friendly” hospitals that meet the criteria for women to initiate and continue with breastfeeding.

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