Minden Medical Center is now the sixth hospital in the state to achieve international recognition as a Baby-Friendly Designated birth facility.
Greg Pearson, CEO of Minden Medical Center, Donna Carter, CNO of Minden Medical Center, Dana Haynes, Nursery Nurse Manager, Mandi Hart, Director of Labor and Delivery, Michael Ulich, MD, and Robert Russell, MD, announced the recognition at a Tuesday news conference inside Minden Medical Center’s baby place, located on the hospital’s fourth floor.
“Minden Medical Center’s baby place continues to set the standard for maternity care in north Louisiana,” Carter said. “We are very proud of our team who worked so hard to earn this designation, which is a tribute to our commitment to ensuring that every woman who delivers a baby at Minden Medical Center is offered the information, confidence and skills needed to help her and her baby receive the best, healthiest start in life.”
Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund. The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and promote the best, evidence-based feeding practices for all babies.
Minden Medical Center is the first hospital in north Louisiana to receive the prestigious distinction. Currently there are 445 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States. The “Baby-Friendly” designation is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. The award is maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps as demonstrated by quality processes.
Haynes said Minden Medical Center has taken several steps in recent years that led to Tuesday’s announcement, among them were participation in the Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait program, which promotes a 39 week pregnancy, “rooming in,” where moms and infants stay together around the clock, in-hospital safe sleeping initiatives and promoting the 10 steps of successful breastfeeding.
The Center for Disease Control has set a health goal of 90 percent of new babies being breastfed by the year 2020. Nationwide numbers are on the rise, having climbed from 60 to 74 percent, while our parish’s numbers are up to 50 percent.
“It is so exciting to receive the recognition of becoming the first Baby-Friendly designated facility in North Louisiana,” Haynes said. “But first and foremost the purpose has always been to benefit our patients and their families.”
Haynes said breastfeeding reduces the baby’s risk of SIDS significantly, as well as lowering risk of contracting allergies, ear infection, diarrhea, asthma, obesity, Type II Diabetes and lower respiratory infections. In 2016 alone, there were 19 SIDS-related deaths in the area.
“We have instituted many new processes to educate and encourage families on the best way to safely care for their children and avoid negative outcomes that are so prevalent to our region,” Haynes said.
“A major part of this designation is the amount of time we spend in our patient rooms educating moms,” Hart said. “Whether they are breastfeeding or bottle-feeding… we cover it all in depth. When you see first time moms leave the hospital beaming with confidence in the care they are providing their child, then you know all the work, all the education was the right thing to do for our patients.”