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St. Catherine of Siena Completes CDC’s EMPower Training for Breastfeeding

October 16, 2019

St. Catherine of Siena is the only Baby-Friendly designated hospital in Suffolk County. The maternity division earned the prestigious designation in 2017, and culminates the hospital’s commitment to sustain the three leading tenants of the Baby-Friendly philosophy, which is to support:

  1. Human milk fed through direct breastfeeding is the optimal way for human infants to be nurtured and nourished.
  2. The precious first days in the birth facility should be protected as a time of bonding and support not influenced by commercial interests.
  3. Every mother should be informed about the importance of breastfeeding and respected to make her own decision.[1]

To successful meet the guided approach, developed by the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund, maternity clinicians and support staff seek ongoing training to encourage breastfeeding, the proven optimal infant nutrition. Most recently, the hospital’s maternity division completed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) EMPower Training—a CDC-funded initiative aimed at improving evidence-based maternity practices which support breastfeeding. St. Catherine was 1 of 90 hospitals chosen nationwide to participant in the new initiative, whereby staff were provided increased access to breastfeeding training modules and resources. By providing skills-based competency training, hospitals and maternity care facilities can ensure that related policies and procedures are implemented in unison and safely for mothers and infants. Ultimately, EMPower aims to improve breastfeeding rates and patient satisfaction scores. Further, by providing training and technical assistance to advance the capacity of maternity care staff and healthcare providers, locally and nationally.

St. Catherine’s Nursing Director of the Women-Child Care Center Neila Hernandez, MSN, CBC, RN, WHNP-BC, has been committed to the breastfeeding culture long before the hospital earned its Baby-Friendly status and supports ongoing education opportunities.

“In order for clinicians to provide an informed breastfeeding educational environment, clinicians have to be committed to continue learning in order to maintain the three guiding baby-friendly tenants,” said Hernandez. “Providing evidence-based care and education supports mothers in achieving their infant feeding goals, which results in healthy mothers and babies and long-term savings in future health care costs.”

St. Catherine of Siena provides free prenatal breastfeeding classes and lactation support groups. For more information, please visit the Events Calendar or call (631) 870-3444.  

[1] Baby-Friendly USA. 2019. About Us.