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Baby-Friendly Hospitals Provide Care and Support for Optimal Maternal and Infant Health


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              Connecticut Department of Public Health

February 10, 2012                                                      Contact: William Gerrish

                                                                                   (860) 509-7270


Hartford – At a ceremony earlier today at the Hospital of Saint Raphael, Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen unveiled a plaque from Baby-Friendly USA officially designating the hospital “Baby-Friendly.” This designation recognizes hospitals and birth centers that help parents make informed choices about feeding and caring for their babies. With today’s designation, four of Connecticut’s hospitals have now earned recognition as hospitals that offer an optimal environment for new moms to successfully begin breastfeeding.


“One of the most effective measures a mother can take to benefit her health and the health of her infant is to breastfeed,” said Dr. Mullen. “The Hospital of Saint Raphael’s Baby-Friendly designation brings us one step closer to our long-term goal that all babies born in Connecticut are born in a Baby-Friendly designated maternity facility.”


With the Hospital of Saint Raphael’s designation, approximately 19% of Connecticut births occur at maternity facilities that are designated Baby-Friendly, well above the national average of 5 %. 


Saint Raphael’s Hospital earned this designation through their participation in the Connecticut Breastfeeding Initiative, a project led by the Department of Public Health in partnership with the Connecticut Breastfeeding Coalition, to help hospitals achieve the Baby-Friendly status. Through a federal Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant, ten Connecticut hospitals have successfully completed at least 5 of the 10 steps required for the designation.


The Hospital of Saint Raphael is the first hospital to achieve the designation as part of the initiative. Three hospitals, Hartford Hospital, Middlesex Hospital, and St. Vincent’s Medical Center, previously achieved Baby-Friendly status.


“We congratulate the Hospital of Saint Raphael on their designation, and hope that their success will encourage other hospitals to continue on their path to achieving this status. Ultimately, we hope that Connecticut will set the standard to which other states can aspire,” stated Michele Griswold, Chairperson of the Connecticut Breast Feeding Coalition.


Baby-Friendly USA is the accrediting body for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in the United States. BFHI is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund. The Baby-Friendly designation requires maternity facilities to demonstrate specific care practices that have been shown to improve health outcomes for mothers and babies, increase patient satisfaction, and enhance staff competence and bedside breastfeeding skills.


For more information on the Baby-Friendly Hospital designation, please visit the Baby-Friendly USA website at www.babyfriendlyusa.org/.


The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote health and safety of the people of our state.  To contact the department, please visit its website at www.ct.gov/dph or call (860) 509-7270.