DeKalb Medical has earned the international “Baby-Friendly” Hospital Initiative (BFHI) designation from Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. DeKalb Medical is the first hospital in Georgia to achieve this designation. In addition to the “Baby-Friendly” designation, the hospital was also awarded a 5-STAR Hospital Recognition from the Georgia Department of Public Health.
The designation process began in June 2012, when DeKalb Medical was chosen as one of 90 hospitals in the United States to participate in the Best Fed Beginnings Collaborative. Best Fed Beginnings is a project for improving breastfeeding rates in the U.S. by the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ), with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and aligned with Baby-Friendly USA. The Best Fed Beginnings project is an active participant of DeKalb Medical achieving the Baby-Friendly Hospital designation.
Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the U.S. authority for the implementation of Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (“BFHI”), 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 of Successful Breastfeeding, this international award 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. Currently there are 227 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.
The Five-Star designation is awarded to hospitals that have accomplished all 10 steps of the “Baby-Friendly” designation.