Long Island Jewish Forest Hills has been designated a “Baby-Friendly” hospital, an internationally recognized award highlighting the facility’s dedication to improving breastfeeding rates while encouraging mother-infant bonding.
The “Baby-Friendly” initiative – a global effort by UNICEF and the World Health Organization and overseen by Baby-Friendly USA – aims to make all hospitals centers of breastfeeding support.
LIJ Forest Hills, which delivered approximately 2,000 babies in 2016, is the 18th hospital in New York State to achieve the designation. It joins another Northwell Health facility, Phelps Memorial Hospital Center in Sleepy Hollow, NY, which attained that status in October 2016. Nationwide, 421 hospitals and birthing centers are designated as “Baby-Friendly.”
Designated facilities are required to adhere to 10 principles to promote breastfeeding, including the initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
“This accreditation for LIJ Forest Hills is another example of our commitment to our patients throughout their lives,” said Susan Browning, executive director of the hospital. “By taking steps to ensure child health at the first stages of life we reduce the number of health complications and conditions that require management in future years.”
Studies have shown that breastfeeding has many health benefits for both mother and baby. Breastfed babies are less likely to have many illnesses, including stomach, chest and ear infections, asthma, diabetes and obesity. Mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer and osteoporosis in later life.
“We have a dedicated staff at LIJ Forest Hills who are continuing to bring our Women’s New Life Center, as well as our Women’s Health Center in Rego Park, to new heights in health care,” said Orlando Santandreu, MD, vice chair of obstetrics and gynecology at LIJ Forest Hills. “I feel extremely proud being part of this team and its many achievements. ‘Baby-Friendly’ is another well-recognized achievement which highlights the dedication of our team.”
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