After years of work and preparation, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center has achieved the highly prestigious international Baby-Friendly designation. This honor demonstrates that Good Samaritan is adhering to the highest standards of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.
Facilities that achieve this designation, undergo a rigorous review process conducted by Baby-Friendly USA, the organization responsible for bestowing this certification in the United States.
The Baby-Friendly 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 Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for optimal infant feeding support in the precious first days of a newborn’s life.
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.”
“Upon taking over the manager position last year for the Center for Women and Families, I am happy to say that much of this work had been put in place by the diligence and foresight of our previous manager Debbie Heim and Nurse Midwife Debbie Alba,” said Jenni Copeland, department manager. “The hours of staff training on our unit and throughout the hospital, and the work to achieve all Ten Steps in place, was a huge undertaking which had been completed by the time we transitioned leadership roles. During our survey it was evident that we far exceeded the expectations of Baby-Friendly International USA. We are proud to have achieved this designation and to be a part of this well established and highly regarded organization. Our primary goal is to increase the health and well-being of our mothers and babies in the first few days and months of life.”
Good Samaritan joins a growing list of more than 20,000 Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers throughout the world, including five others in Oregon. These facilities provide an environment that supports breastfeeding while respecting every woman’s right to make the best decision for herself and her family.
“Achieving Baby-Friendly designation is no easy task. Transforming the policies, culture and workflow of a large institution requires vision, dedication and persistence among many people at all levels of our organization,” said Debbie Heim, RN, who retired as department manager in 2020 but has stayed on to complete the certification process.
“But as the saying goes, ‘Nothing worth having comes easy,’ Heim continued. “Attaining the Baby-Friendly designation is hard for a reason – we worked to ensure that mothers and babies receive and will continue to receive the highest standards of infant feeding care and support in the precious first days of the child’s life.”
“I am so grateful for the dedication and diligence of our Center for Women and Families’ team at Good Samaritan,” said Laura Hennum, hospital CEO. “They outdid themselves with their preparation and perseverance with this effort. This designation is a testimony to their commitment to our patients – both mother and baby – as well as to our community.”
As the accrediting body and national authority for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in the United States, Baby-Friendly USA is responsible for upholding the highest standards in infant feeding care by coordinating and conducting all activities necessary to confer the prestigious Baby-Friendly designation and ensure the widespread adoption of the BFHI in the US. Learn more about Baby-Friendly USA and the BFHI at babyfriendlyusa.org.