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NorthBay is a Baby-Friendly Hospital – Again!

Posted: September 27, 2019

NorthBay Medical Center has again earned designation as a Baby-Friendly hospital.

News of the re-designation came Sept. 12 in a letter from Baby-Friendly USA, an international breastfeeding education and support program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund.

“Be proud and celebrate…the NorthBay team provides our smallest patients with the healthiest start in life,” said Katie Lydon, director of Women and Children’s Services. “As I read through the email sent five years ago announcing our first Baby-Friendly Designation I have to smile, the stats may have changed but the spirit of living our mission and serving our community has not.”

Back then, she wrote: “This accomplishment was achieved through the communication of the vision of excellence and unwavering support of NorthBay Healthcare administration, the collaboration of countless teams within the system both inpatient and outpatient, including almost every ancillary department, the competence and caring of the staff, nurses and physicians … and above all a spirit of doing the right thing for our NorthBay patients … every patient, every encounter, every time.”

 In announcing the re-designation, Baby-Friendly USA officials noted that NorthBay Medical Center has implemented all of the 10 steps to successful breastfeeding and has met the requirement of purchasing breast milk substitutes.

Specifically, the designation required that NorthBay:  

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they are separated from their infants.
  6. Give infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice rooming-in – allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center.

Heather Troutt, clinical manager of Women and Children’s Services, said the re-designation is a testament to the quality of care NorthBay provides.

“The criteria to obtain this status is challenging and designed to set the standards for the best possible breastfeeding support for mother and infant in the maternity setting, thus ensuring high quality of care in this critical area of mother/baby care,” she said. “It is much, much more than just breastfeeding. Our patients know that when they deliver with us, they know that we will do everything to allow that crucial time of bonding that you can never get back. This is true for all patients, no matter how they deliver.”

NorthBay Medical Center is the only hospital in Solano County that is designated as Baby-Friendly. “This is so important because it really sets us apart,” Heather said. “Even if our moms choose not to breastfeed, they are kept together with their baby 24/7.  They participate in skin-to-skin contact and these two things greatly impact the overall bonding experience. The Baby-Friendly steps are in our blood. It is what we do.”