We Are a Designated Baby-Friendly USA Hospital

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center has been officially awarded Baby-Friendly USA® designation.

Baby- Friendly® designation is a globally known and prestigious recognition awarded to hospitals and birthing facilities that uphold strict breastfeeding/chestfeeding and maternal care guidelines established by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The process of becoming a Baby-Friendly® institution is rigorous and the designation is only awarded to organizations that demonstrate a full commitment to providing the best possible support for breastfeeding/chestfeeding mothers and ensuring a high quality of mother/baby care.

Hospitals that earn this designation are required to adhere to the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding which include:

Critical management procedures:

1a. Comply fully with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and relevant World Health Assembly resolutions.

1b. Have a written infant feeding policy that is routinely communicated to staff and parents.

1c. Establish ongoing monitoring and data-management systems.

  1. Ensure that staff have sufficient knowledge, competence and skills to support breastfeeding/chestfeeding.

Key clinical practices:

  1. Discuss the importance and management of breastfeeding/chestfeeding with pregnant women and their families.
  2. Facilitate immediate and uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact and support mothers to initiate breastfeeding/chestfeeding as soon as possible after birth.
  3. Support mothers to initiate and maintain breastfeeding/chestfeeding and manage common difficulties.
  4. Do not provide breastfed/chestfed newborns any food or fluids other than human milk, unless medically indicated.
  5. Enable mothers and their infants to remain together and to practise rooming-in 24 hours a day.
  6. Support mothers to recognize and respond to their infants’ cues for feeding.
  7. Counsel mothers on the use and risks of feeding bottles, teats and pacifiers.
  8. Coordinate discharge so that parents and their infants have timely access to ongoing support and care.

There is substantial evidence that implementing the Ten Steps significantly improves breastfeeding/chestfeeding rates. A systematic review of 58 studies on maternity and newborn care published in 2016 demonstrated clearly that adherence to the Ten Steps impacts early initiation of breastfeeding/chestfeeding immediately after birth, exclusive breastfeeding/chestfeeding and total duration of breastfeeding/chestfeeding.

We support breastfeeding/chestfeeding because evidence shows that mother’s milk provides the optimal nutrition for babies and also provides protection from viruses and bacteria.  Babies who are fed human milk are less likely to develop respiratory diseases such as asthma or gastrointestinal diseases.  Breastfeeding/chestfeeding is also beneficial for a mother’s health as women who breastfeed/chestfeed are less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, breast or ovarian cancer.