Baby-Friendly Hospital

In 1996, EvergreenHealth became the first hospital in the United States to earn designation as a Baby-Friendly Hospital.

This gold standard of care is a designation of UNICEF and the World Health Organization.

Our Baby-Friendly Hospital designation has been renewed every five years, most recently in 2017.

About the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative

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 have a lower risk of disease and overall improved health
  • adults who were breastfed as babies may be less likely to develop risk factors for heart disease, such as obesity and high blood pressure
  • 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

As part of our Baby-Friendly designation, we:

  • offer to help all mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth
  • provide lactation services as well as breastfeeding classes to give you the confidence and skills needed to successfully breastfeed your newborn
  • breastfed babies will not be offered pacifiers or any food other than breast milk.

The criteria for becoming an accredited Baby-Friendly Hospital include:

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and maintain lactation, even if they should be separated from their infants.
  6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, not even sips of water, unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice rooming in - that is, allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

The program also restricts the hospital's use of free infant formula or other infant care aids provided by formula manufacturers.