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St. Mary's Becomes a Baby Friendly Designated Hospital

Contact: Angela Henderson-Bentley, MAJ, Manager of Public Relations
(304) 526-1854
Cell: (304) 553-8679
April 25, 2018


St. Mary’s Maternity Services receives prestigious international award

     (HUNTINGTON)— St. Mary’s Maternity Services has received prestigious international recognition as a Designated Baby-Friendly birth facility from Baby-Friendly USA.

     Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, the award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

     “We are honored to become a Designated Baby-Friendly birth facility,” said Mary Beth Stewart, clinical manager of St. Mary’s Maternity Services. “The designation reinforces how passionate we are about the care that we provide to mothers and newborns to get them off to a great start.”

     St. Mary’s is only the second birth facility in West Virginia and the only birth facility in the Tri-State region to be designated Baby-Friendly.

     Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (“BFHI”), a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. 

     Currently there are 512 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. There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide.

     According to the CDC, infants who are breastfed have reduced risks of asthma, obesity, type 2 diabetes, ear and respiratory infections and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfeeding can also help lower a mother’s risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer and breast cancer. According to the West Virginia Breastfeeding Alliance, West Virginia ranks 47th in the nation in breastfeeding rates. 

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