What Does It Mean to Be a “Baby-Friendly Hospital” in Alabama?

At Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center, we’re proud of our status as the first Baby-Friendly Hospital in the state of Alabama.

But what does that mean? And how does this factor into giving you the best maternity care you can find?

Here, we’ll explain how this designation means you can receive high-quality maternity care in the five-county region we service, and why you’ll be in the best hands possible during your stay with us.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative was created by the World Health Organization and UNICEF in 1991 as a way to promote breastfeeding throughout the world. This movement has since morphed into one that promotes better maternity care in general, especially that which establishes a strong, healthy bond between mother and child and increases the chances of success in the critical early days of a child’s life.

Certification in the BFHI in the U.S. is conducted by Baby-Friendly USA. They award this designation to medical centers throughout the country that meet their guidelines, including:

  • Committing to a breastfeeding-is-best policy
  • Training all health care staff to implement the policy
  • Educating pregnant patients about the benefits and management of breastfeeding
  • Helping mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth
  • Placing mothers and babies together in skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth
  • Showing mothers how to effectively breastfeed
  • Encouraging a breastfeeding-only policy while the infant is in care of the hospital
  • Allowing mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day
  • Encouraging breastfeeding on demand
  • Giving no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants
  • Fostering continued breastfeeding by establishing and supporting breastfeeding support groups

By following these policies, designated Baby-Friendly Hospitals promote the bonding of a mother and infant, and help them learn and grow together through breastfeeding and other best practices while they are in the care of the facility.

Why This Matters to You

We’re proud to have been named the first Baby-Friendly Hospital in the state of Alabama because we are committed to giving our mothers the best possible care.

In addition to being a Baby-Friendly Hospital, we also offer more choices for maternal care, more natural delivery options, and more personalized birthing experiences. That’s because we care about our mothers and their babies, and we want the very best for them while they are under our roof.

Learn more about our maternity care and how we are dedicated to offering the best maternity care in the region — including a more personalized, comfortable experience for you and your growing family that you can’t find anywhere else.