University of Maryland Medical Center is Baby Friendly

December 05, 2019

The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) is proud to announce that it has achieved the highly prestigious international Baby-Friendly designation after a rigorous review process conducted by Baby-Friendly USA, the organization responsible for bestowing this certification in the United States.

“We are extremely proud to be recognized for the hard work of our women’s and children’s services team throughout the Baby-Friendly process,” says Mohan Suntha, MD, MBA, president and chief executive officer at the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS). “We are committed to providing the support, education and resources that families need to successfully initiate breastfeeding, and continue breastfeeding when they leave our care.”

This distinguished honor demonstrates that UMMC is adhering to the highest standards of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. These standards are built on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a set of evidence-based practices recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for optimal infant feeding support in the precious first days of a newborn’s life.

“Research has shown that the hospital experience strongly influences a mother’s ability to start and continue breastfeeding,” says Christopher Harman, MD, chair and Sylvan Frieman, MD Endowed Professor in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), and director of the Center for Advanced Fetal Care. “By implementing evidence-based care through the Baby-Friendly designation we will ensure that mothers delivering in our center have the most positive, encouraging breastfeeding experience they can. Our program recognizes there are those who cannot or decide not to breastfeed they, too, are fully supported.”

The positive health effects of breastfeeding are well documented and widely recognized by health authorities throughout the world. For example, the Surgeon General’s 2011 Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding stated that “Breast milk is uniquely suited to the human infant’s nutritional needs and is a live substance with unparalleled immunological and anti-inflammatory properties that protect against a host of illnesses and diseases for both mothers and children.”

“This designation is the culmination of a lot of hard work and determination across our organization, all with a goal of helping families get off to a good start,” says Monika Bauman, MS, BSN, RN, NEA-BC, patient care services director for women’s and children’s health at UMMC. “We are proud to offer an environment that supports best practices shown to increase breastfeeding exclusivity and duration and are committed to give moms who choose to breastfeed the best chance for success.”

UMMC joins a growing list of more than 20,000 Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers throughout the world, 593 of which are in the United States. These facilities provide an environment that supports breastfeeding while respecting every woman’s right to make the best decision for herself and her family.

“This recognition demonstrates our commitment to supporting families in integrating breastfeeding into their day-to-day lives, and serving as a trusted resource for mothers through their baby’s first year of life and beyond,” says Steven J. Czinn, MD, the Drs. Rouben and Violet Jiji Endowed Professor of Pediatrics and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at UMSOM and director of the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.

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