St. Vincent’s Southside submits Letter of Intent to become Baby Friendly

“For others interested in the process, I would suggest: gather information, look around you carefully, then begin from where you are.”

-Jean Macomber, RN, IBCLC

St. Vincent’s Medical Center — Southside has submitted a letter of intent to become a Baby Friendly Hospital, only the second hospital in Northeast Florida to do so. If successful, St. Vincent’s Southside would join the Naval Hospital Jacksonville on the NAS Jax base and three other hospitals throughout the state with the World Health Organization/UNICEF designation.

The hospital, which delivers approximately 1,300 babies each year, submitted the letter after the recognition that they already following many of the things the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative encourages. The Family Birth Place has 17 rooms that were built to accommodate rooming for both mother and baby.

St. Vincent’s Southside has two International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs), Jean Macomber and Debbie Bauer, that make inpatient rounds daily see outpatient mom and newborn couplets for lactation issues and as well as seeing newborns who were delivered here for follow up jaundice &/or weight assessments.The hospital has tracked feeding statistics since the inception of the lactation program in 2000; Since 2010, the exclusive breastfeeding rate has averaged between 63 percent to 73 percent.

Staff is currently assessing where they stand with each of the 10 Steps To Successful Breastfeeding to identify areas for improvement. 

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