Mission first hospital in state to receive breastfeeding-friendly designation

Mission Hospital has been named the first hospital in North Carolina to receive the full five-star N.C. Maternity Center Breastfeeding-Friendly Designation. This is awarded when a maternity center implements all the selected policies and practices from the center’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding that support new mothers as they begin breastfeeding, ensure that the newborn is given only breast milk, and that the family is educated and encouraged to continue breastfeeding when they go home.

“The staff of Women’s and Children’s Services works incredibly hard to deliver excellent breastfeeding support regardless of where the mother and baby are at in the birth experience,” said Patrick Ryan, RNC, BSN, nurse manager in the Mother-Baby Unit at Mission. “The breastfeeding designation and our Baby Friendly designation from the World Health Organization require us to continue the support and advocacy of this important aspect of family health.”

Maternity centers (hospitals and birthing centers) receive one star for every two steps implemented. In total, six hospitals across the state have been recognized for their efforts in this area. Among those recognized was Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard (a member of Mission Health), which received a two star designation.

“We are proud to recognize the commitment these maternity centers have shown to helping babies and mothers get off to a healthy start,” N.C. State Health Director Jeff Engel said. “The health benefits of breastfeeding are well-documented, from lower rates of childhood obesity to reducing cancer risk in moms who breastfeed.”

The Breastfeeding-Friendly designation is part of a statewide effort to create a climate where nursing mothers are supported in their choice to breastfeed their children. The North Carolina Maternity Center Breastfeeding-Friendly Hospital Designation is endorsed by the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force and the North Carolina Hospital Association.