Achieving the five-year Baby-Friendly designation is no easy task, but Salem Hospital rose to the challenge. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund.
An international team of experts came up with a list of criteria, known as the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. If followed, those steps give mothers and babies a higher chance for breastfeeding success.
Baby-Friendly is not about deciding for parents how they should feed their babies. It’s about making sure parents have the education they need to make an informed decision about their baby.
Breast milk provides antibodies that help keep babies safe from illnesses, reducing the likelihood of:
Breastfeeding also benefits mothers! They burn about 500 extra calories a day — and lower the risk of ovarian and breast cancer.
If a family should choose to formula-feed their baby, Salem Health staff will support that decision and provide them with all the information they need to safely feed their baby.
Babies born at Salem Hospital are placed skin-to-skin with their mothers immediately after birth. At that time, nurses also help assist with the baby’s first latch to the mother’s breast.
Here’s a closer look at baby’s first hour:
When mothers deliver at Salem Hospital, they will experience a supportive environment for breastfeeding success.
Salem Health Family Birth Center nurses receive at least 20 hours of breastfeeding education to meet each mother and baby’s needs. Nurses also follow the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.
The hospital’s team of lactation consultants are also available for both inpatient and outpatient support. Lactation support is available seven days a week — and at least two lactation consultants are on duty (8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekends).
Mothers continue to receive assistance in the weeks and months after they leave the hospital to ensure they have long-term success with breastfeeding. Salem Health offers a wide array of education and support opportunities.
A free support group meets three days a week at Salem Hospital — plus once a week at West Valley Hospital — and is run by the hospital lactation staff. Mothers who do not deliver at Salem Health facilities are also welcome to attend.
Joelynn J. gave birth to her daughter at Salem Hospital and shared her experience: