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St. Catherine of Siena is the First Baby-Friendly® Designated Hospital in Suffolk County

September 11th, 2017


Baby-Friendly USA, announced that St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center has received the prestigious international recognition as a Baby-Friendly® Designated birth facility—the first hospital to earn the designation in Suffolk County.

Baby-Friendly USA, Inc., is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the 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 to Successful Breastfeeding, this prestigious international award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

“I am extremely proud of our maternity staff for their dedication and support in achieving this prestigious recognition in becoming the first Baby-Friendly hospital in Suffolk County,” said St. Catherine’s Director of Women-Child Care Center Neila Hernandez, MSN, RN, WHNP-BC. “This journey could not have been possible without everyone’s commitment and compassion—achieving the Baby-Friendly Designation acknowledges the support and optimal care our mothers and babies receive every day.”

There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently there are 447 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.

St. Catherine of Siena supports the many benefits of breastfeeding. As supported by WHO and UNICEF, breastfeeding offers an unmatched beginning for children. Further, providing infants with human milk gives them the most complete nutrition possible. Human milk provides the optimal mix of nutrients and antibodies necessary for babies to thrive. “Mothers who deliver at Baby Friendly designated hospitals, are more likely to initiate breastfeeding and sustain breastfeeding longer, which will have life-long benefits for the families and the community,” said St. Catherine Lactation Coordinator Kristin Thayer MSN, RNC, IBCLC. “It is wonderful seeing mothers and fathers holding their newborns, skin-to-skin, and knowing that their babies are getting the best start in life.”

St. Catherine of Siena offers free lactation support facilitated by an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. A Prenatal Breastfeeding Class is offered every Tuesdays at 7:00 PM, and the Lactation Support Group is offered every Tuesday at 1:30 PM.

 For more information or to register for a free lactation support group, call (631) 870-3444 or visit our events calendar