March 23, 2016 –Chicago, ILL – Presence Saint Joseph Hospital has been recognized as Chicago’s second Baby-Friendly Hospital, representing another step forward in addressing Chicago’s childhood obesity epidemic. Working in partnership with the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC), the hospital uses a comprehensive approach towards preventing childhood obesity by focusing on maternal and infant health and nutrition.
The designation, which is administered by Baby-Friendly USA, represents success in providing an optimal level of support for breastfeeding mothers and babies. Status is awarded to hospitals that integrate the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding into their standard of care in order to provide new mothers the information and support needed to initiate and sustain breastfeeding habits with their newborns.
“The baby friendly designation shows that our team of lactation experts, nurses, technicians and doctors are part of a system that educates, supports and helps achieve a very important step in a family’s life,” said Dr. Eden Takhsh, Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Medical Director of the OB/GYN residency program at Presence Saint Joseph Hospital. “To be recognized in such a prestigious manner lets our team know that we are on the right path. It also lets our patients know that we are a center of excellence when it comes to helping them achieve their goals of breastfeeding and more.”
The ten policy and practice changes hospitals must adopt to receive designation include a commitment to help mothers initiate breast feeding within an hour of giving birth, the support of “rooming in” to allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day, providing infants no food or drink beyond breast milk unless medically necessary and the training of all healthcare staff in the skills necessary to implement Baby Friendly policy.
“When initiated at the earliest opportunity, sustained exclusively for six months, and maintained while introducing solid foods, breastfeeding has been shown to contribute to a healthy growth trajectory,” said Dr. Adam Becker, CLOCC Executive Director. “Presence Saint Joseph’s success in achieving Baby-Friendly Hospital status means a great deal for the City. It’s exciting that families in Chicago now have more opportunities to choose hospitals where breastfeeding is actively and explicitly encouraged and where they will have access to the highest level of breastfeeding support and care. We believe this is just the beginning of an important culture shift in the City’s hospitals.”
Presence Saint Joseph is the 10th labor and delivery center in Illinois to obtain Baby-Friendly status. The BHFI was created in 1991 by the World Health Organization and UNICEF to foster maternity care practices that promote and support breastfeeding. Today, over 20,000 maternity and infant care facilities in 152 countries, including 337 in the United States, are designated as Baby-Friendly.
About Presence Saint Joseph Hospital
Founded in 1868, Presence Saint Joseph Hospital is an award-winning academic medical center on Chicago’s north side overlooking the shores of Lake Michigan and Lincoln Park. It is known for advanced care in cardiology, headache, cancer care, cardiac care, minimally invasive surgery, plastic surgery, bariatrics, neonatal care and treatment of HIV and its complications. Presence Saint Joseph Hospital is also home to the Presence Center for Advanced Care, the area’s newest and most advanced outpatient treatment facility. Dedicated to delivering an exceptional patient experience, Presence Saint Joseph is one of only two hospitals in Chicago designated as Baby Friendly by the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children. More information is available at http://presencehealth.org/stjoseph-chicago.