Forrest General Hospital first in the state to receive prestigious international award
Hattiesburg, Miss. (December 30, 2015)– Forrest General Hospital has received prestigious international recognition as a Baby-Friendly Designated birth facility.
Forrest General is the first hospital in Mississippi to achieve this honor by meeting the challenging criteria set forth by Baby-Friendly USA, Inc., the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI). This criterion is designed to set the standards for the best possible breastfeeding support for mother and infant in the maternity setting, ensuring high quality care in this critical area.
“Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi congratulates Forrest General Hospital on the achievement of the first Baby Friendly-USA Hospital designation in Mississippi. The work to attain this award required strong leadership, dedicated and skilled staff and supports our shared goal of healthy mothers and healthy babies,” said Sarah Broom, M.D., medical director of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi. “This designation recognizes Forrest General Hospital's journey to excellence in maternity care, specifically encouragement of breastfeeding, and endorses their practice of safe, evidence-based, family-centered care. We are committed to a healthy future for Mississippians, working with our Network Provider partners who strive to deliver quality care, like Forrest General Hospital.”
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is 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. Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, this prestigious international award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.
Anita Henderson, M.D., pediatrician with Hattiesburg Clinic, said, “We love our babies and their families at Forrest General. We are dedicated to helping mothers learn about how they can give their babies the best possible nutrition through breastfeeding and to making the process as easy and stress-free as possible. The criteria to become a Baby Friendly hospital is strict and requires much from our staff, but these babies are worth it.”
There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently there are only 319 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.
“Mothers and babies will benefit for years to come as a result of our hard work and dedication to bring this to pass! We are very proud of all our staff and physicians for reaching this amazing milestone, which supports families in accomplishing their goals and gives our babies a healthy start in life,” said Tangela Boutwell, director of Forrest General’s Women and Children’s Services.
To learn more about Women and Children’s Services at Forrest General, visit forrestgeneral.com. Further information about the U.S. Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative may be obtained by visiting www.babyfriendlyusa.org.