Phelps Earns Designation as “Baby-Friendly” Hospital

Lactation consultant Yeva Posner, RN, IBCLC, with a new mother bonding with her newborn using skin-to-skin contact.

Phelps Hospital has always been known as a great place to have a baby, but now it has officially joined the international ranks of “Baby-Friendly® Hospitals,” recognized for offering an optimal level of care and support for new mothers and their babies.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program created in 1991 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). This prestigious designation, made by Baby-Friendly USA, recognizes Phelps for offering new mothers the information, confidence and skills they need to succeed in breastfeeding and caring for their infants.

Phelps is now one of just 381designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers across the United States and one of more than 20,000 worldwide. Phelps is the 16th hospital in New York State and only the second hospital in the Hudson Valley to achieve this designation. 

Phelps has long had a commitment to midwifery and to natural childbirth, as well as breastfeeding as the best possible start for new babies and their mothers. In the mid-1990s, Phelps established a Lactation Center, staffed by lactation consultants who help new mothers breastfeed their infants in the hospital and even when they need assistance after they go home. In 2011, Phelps was recognized as one of the top 10 hospitals with the highest breastfeeding rates in New York State.

“Achieving the ‘Baby-Friendly’ designation has taken four years of hard work by the entire maternity staff, as well as a major commitment on the part of the hospital,” said Dr. Lawrence Mendelowitz, director of the Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology at Phelps. “We are proud to have earned this award, but prouder still of providing the highest level of maternity care to our patients.”

“Becoming ‘Baby-Friendly’ means new parents are happier, healthier and more confident when they take their babies home,” said Yeva Posner, RN, IBCLC, the lactation consultant at Phelps who has led the four-year effort to earn the designation. “Studies show that the initial hospital experience strongly influences parents’ ability to successfully bond with their infant, understanding the newborn’s needs and breastfeeding.”

Another aspect of Baby-Friendly care is emphasis placed on the importance of the connection between the mother and her newborn. “At Phelps we implement skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby. We help them initiate breastfeeding right away in the delivery room, and keep them together to promote the normal biological transition to life outside the womb,” said Posner. “We are committed to ensuring that all those who deliver at Phelps Hospital are offered the best care, education and support needed to give their babies a healthy start in life.”

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About Phelps Memorial Hospital Center
Phelps Memorial Hospital Center, part of Northwell Health, is a full-service 238-bed acute care community hospital located in Sleepy Hollow, NY. With more than 1,700 employees and 500 medical staff members representing 60 medical specialties, Phelps offers one of the broadest ranges of community hospital services in Westchester County. Patients benefit from distinguished physicians, many of whom are pioneers in their field, offering the most advanced procedures using the latest technology. www.phelpshospital.org. Phelps' primary and specialty care medical group, Phelps Medical Associates, has nearly 20 practices located on the hospital campus and in the surrounding communities. www.phelpsmedicalassociates.org.

About Northwell Health 
Northwell Health is New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer, with 21 hospitals and over 550 outpatient facilities. We care for more than two million people annually in the metro New York area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 61,000 employees – 15,000+ nurses and nearly 3,400 physicians, including nearly 2,700 members of Northwell Health Physician Partners -- are working to change health care for the better. We’re making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institute. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and the School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. And we offer health insurance through CareConnect. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit Northwell.edu.

Media Contacts:  
Nancy Gold, The Gold Standard
914-232-6583

Tina Dorfman, Phelps Hospital
914-366-3109 

About Maternity Services

Phelps Hospital offers numerous educational programs, your choice of labor support people during the birth experience, extended father, sibling and grandparent visiting, lactation support services and more.