NAS Jax Hospital receives Baby Friendly Hospital designation

The Naval Hospital Jacksonville on the NAS Jax Naval base announced today that they received the international designation as a Baby Friendly Hospital — only the third hospital to receive the honor in Florida and the only one in the region.

The World Health Organization and UNICEF outlined Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding for Hospitals. Delivering facilities, once they implement the 10 steps, can apply for and receive a Baby Friendly Hospital designation, which is the gold standard for breastfeeding support in birthing facilities.

The hospital completed a site visit in August as part of the certification process. The 10 steps hospitals must follow are:

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
  6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice “rooming in”– allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic

NAS Jax has been an active participant in the NEF Breastfeeding Collaborative, organized in 2009 to promote and support improved policies and practices in delivering hospitals in the region. Baby-Friendly Hospital designation for all maternity facilities was a key recommendation for improving infant health included in the 2008 JCCI Infant Mortality Study.