In 1996, EvergreenHealth became the first hospital in the United States to earn designation as a Baby Friendly Hospital from UNICEF and the World Health Organization.
Our Baby Friendly Hospital designation has been renewed every five years, most recently in 2012.
The goal of the Baby Friendly Initiative is to promote breastfeeding to give babies for the best start in life.
Studies have shown that breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from serious illnesses, including gastroenteritis, asthma, eczema and respiratory and ear infections.
The studies also show health benefits for adults who were breastfed as babies, concluding they may be less likely to develop risk factors for heart disease, such as obesity and high blood pressure.
There are benefits for nursing mothers, too: women who don't breastfeed have increased risk of developing heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and hip fractures in later life.
The criteria for becoming an accredited Baby-Friendly Hospital include:
The program also restricts the hospital's use of free infant formula or other infant care aids provided by formula manufacturers.