UC Irvine Medical Center attains “Baby-Friendly” designation for promoting healthy breastfeeding

December 21, 2017

UC Irvine Medical Center has earned recognition as a Baby-Friendly Designated birth facility from Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. and the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. This global program is sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.

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

“Our commitment to the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative has strengthened our already exemplary postpartum care program, and reflects our continuing efforts to provide world-class care to our new mothers and babies,” said William C. Wilson, MD, MA, chief medical officer, UCI Health.

UCI Health has displayed the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding posters in the emergency department and in inpatient areas of the UC Irvine Douglas Hospital. Mothers who give birth at Baby-Friendly hospitals and birthing centers are more likely to initiate breastfeeding and more likely to sustain breastfeeding at six months and one year of age.

“We are proud to be among the hospitals to have achieved the prestigious Baby-Friendly Hospital Designation,” said K.R. Robinson, RN, BSN, perinatal nurse manager at UC Irvine Medical Center. “This award is a demonstration of our commitment to help to promote a healthier community by offering breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.” 

In March, surveyors from Baby-Friendly USA, Inc., spent two days at UC Irvine Medical Center conducting an in-depth quality review of its maternity services and the multidisciplinary approach to [implementing] best practices for infant feeding with a focus on breastfeeding and mother/baby bonding. The surveyors also evaluated systems for staff training, patient satisfaction and health outcomes data. 

The initiative was launched in 1991 to ensure all maternity centers, whether free standing, or in a hospital, become centers of breastfeeding support. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative serves to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding.

More than 475 U.S. hospitals and birthing centers have attained the designation under the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. 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.

UCI Health comprises the clinical, medical education and research enterprises of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UC Irvine Health at physician offices throughout Orange County and at its main campus, UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., a 417-bed acute care hospital that provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation. U.S. News & World Report has listed it among America’s Best Hospitals for 17 consecutive years. UC Irvine Medical Center features Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program, Level I trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center, and is the primary teaching hospital for UC Irvine School of Medicine. UC Irvine Health serves a region of more than 3 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.