MORRISTOWN, NJ – Morristown Medical Center  has earned the prestigious international designation as a Baby-Friendly hospital by Baby-Friendly USA. The Deskovick Maternity Center at Morristown Medical Center and as well as the Frank and Mimi Walsh Maternity Center at Overlook Medical Center join only 314 other active Baby-Friendly hospitals in the nation, and four other Baby-Friendly hospitals in the state. The designation demonstrates each hospital’s commitment to implementing successful breastfeeding practices, and ongoing support for mothers and families.

“This elite designation reflects years of commitment by each hospital to developing and applying new policies and procedures that encourage breastfeeding for newborns, when appropriate, and promoting ongoing education and training for mothers to continue it,” said Fran Drigun, director, pediatric and women’s service lines, Atlantic Health System. “We applaud the efforts of the teams at Morristown Medical Center and Overlook Medical Center in achieving this honor, and look forward to implementing this across all Atlantic Health System campuses.”

Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding—which includes measures for the hospital to have a written breastfeeding policy to help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth, and to practice rooming-in, which encourages mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day—this prestigious international designation is attained after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. The designation lasts for five years, and both hospitals will maintain their award by reporting breastfeeding statistics annually and continuing to practice the ‘Ten Steps.’

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“‘Baby-Friendly’ designation improves the quality of care provided, decreases morbidity and mortality, and improves customer satisfaction, making it a worthwhile investment,” said Trish MacEnroe, executive director of Baby-Friendly USA.

The implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is predicated on the fact that human milk fed through the mother’s own breast is the most natural way for human infants to be nourished, according to BFHI.  Scientific evidence points to lower risks for certain diseases and improved health outcomes for both mothers and babies who breastfeed.

Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund that recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

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