Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare has become one of 19 hospitals in the state of Florida, and the first in the Big Bend region, to be designated a Baby-Friendly Hospital as part of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, which is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Baby-Friendly Hospitals are recognized for offering optimal care for mother/baby bonding and infant feeding.
“In 2014, TMH began the Baby-Friendly process, which is more than just earning a designation,” said Connie Styons, Administrator, Women’s & Children’s Services, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare. “Over the past four years, we have worked to change processes and procedures for our entire organization, and provided a tremendous amount of education to medical professionals and the general public. It has been a beneficial shift for our organization and, most importantly, the babies born here at TMH.”
When families come to the Tallahassee Memorial Alexander D. Brickler, MD Women’s Pavilion, they can expect to experience skin-to-skin contact after their baby is born. During this process, the baby is placed directly on a parent’s chest and covered with a warm blanket. Babies who experience skin-to-skin have less stress, reduced crying, enhanced bonding and improved brain development. Each baby also experiences a delayed bath, typically delayed up to 24 hours after birth, to help reduce stress and to serve as a teachable moment so the whole family can be involved in the bathing process. In the Women’s Pavilion, a mom and her baby also share a room. This rooming in model allows for better bonding and increased breastfeeding rates while also helping moms to feel more relaxed with their babies close by. The ultimate goal with each of these evidence-based maternity care practices is to provide moms and babies with the best start.
“As the healthcare leader in our region, TMH has the responsibility of bringing new evidence-based practices, exceptional medical experts and the latest treatment options to our community,” said Mark O’Bryant, President & CEO, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare. “The Baby-Friendly Hospital designation is the gold standard of care for new mothers and their babies. At TMH, we are proud to earn this prestigious designation and offer these best practices to our patients.”
Since launching in 1991, the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative has grown to include more than 500 designated facilities across the country and 20,000 worldwide. In 2018, about 25 percent of births in the US took place in Baby-Friendly designated facilities.