Erlanger Health System’s Baroness Campus Receives Prestigious International “Baby-Friendly” Designation

Erlanger Health System’s Baroness Campus is the first hospital in the state of Tennessee and one of only a few hospitals in the Southeast to receive prestigious international recognition as a “Baby-Friendly” designated birth facility.

Baby-Friendly USA, Inc., is the US 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.

“We are very proud that the Baroness Campus is the first ‘Baby-Friendly Hospital’ in Tennessee and one of the first few hospitals in the southeastern United States,” said Traci Josephsen, Erlanger Clinical Administrator for Women’s Services.

“Our nursing staff and physicians have worked hard for the past 2 ½ years to implement the ‘Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding’ and earn this prestigious international award,” added Jan Keys, Erlanger Chief Nursing Executive. “This is a great achievement for any hospital that provides maternity care and shows that we have attained a level of excellence in maternity care services.”

The Baby-Friendly designation recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies. 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 to Successful Breastfeeding, which are:

  • Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  • Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
  • Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  • Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one half-hour of birth.
  • Show mothers how to breastfeed and maintain lactation, even if they should be separated from their infants.
  • Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, not even sips of water, unless medically indicated.
  • Practice rooming in, allowing mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  • Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  • Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
  • Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently there are 219 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States.