Corewell Health System

Spectrum Health Hospitals Earn ‘Baby Friendly’ Designation

International Recognition for Breastfeeding Support

Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital has received the prestigious international recognition as a Baby-Friendly Designated birth facility by Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. Spectrum Health United Hospital in Greenville received this same designation in August 2014.

Just 10 percent of hospitals in the country have achieved this designation. Spectrum Health Butterworth and United hospitals are the only Baby-Friendly Designated facilities in West Michigan.

“The Family Birthplace at Butterworth Hospital chose to pursue Baby-Friendly Designation in order to better support mother/baby bonding and infant feeding,” said Erin Keenan, project manager, clinical services, Spectrum Health. “Mothers want more choices and support. This level of breastfeeding expertise provides an optimal choice for families who choose to breastfeed their newborns.”

Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund. 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.

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:

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in the 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 how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
  6. Give infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice rooming in – allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center.

Keenan says that Spectrum Health sought this designation for many reasons:

  • Skin-to-skin is an important step to mother and baby bonding.
  • Exclusively breastfeeding an infant decreases the rate of childhood obesity, increases the bonding between mother and baby and provides the best nutrients to the baby.
  • Rooming in of mother and baby at the hospital is important to make the mother feel more comfortable upon going home knowing the cues of their child.

“Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital is one of the largest hospitals to receive this designation,” stated Keenan. “Our clinical staff has truly adopted this culture, and it can be seen through the care they provide to our patients and reflected in the comments we have received since we started this journey.”

Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital delivers more babies than any other hospital in Michigan.   Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system, based in West Michigan, offering a full continuum of care through the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, which is comprised of 11 hospitals including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital; 170 ambulatory and service sites; 1,150 employed physicians and advanced practice providers including members of the Spectrum Health Medical Group; and Priority Health, a 590,000-member health plan. Spectrum Health is West Michigan’s largest employer with 21,400 employees. The organization provided $294.6 million in community benefit during its 2014 fiscal year. In 2014, Spectrum Health was named one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems® by Truven Health Analytics.