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Women's Medical Center First in State of Alabama to Earn Better Bama Babies Designation

Apr 22, 2019

Program aimed at improving infant mortality and increasing breastfeeding rates in Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, AL (April 22, 2019) - The Women’s Medical Center of Brookwood Baptist Medical Center today announced it is the first in the State of Alabama to earn the Better Bama Babies designation. The Better Bama Babies Hospital Recognition Program – facilitated by the Alabama Breastfeeding Committee (ABC) – strives to assist in improving breastfeeding rates in Alabama by providing delivering hospitals the education and support they need to implement and sustain “best practices” in maternity care.

Better Bama Babies recognitionFunding and endorsement of the program is made possible through The Giving Foundation of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama. The endeavor is further endorsed by Alabama Department of Public Health, Alabama Medicaid, Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians and Alabama Chapter of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology. The program is also supported by The Alabama Chapter of the March of Dimes.

According to the ABC, the long-term benefits of breastfeeding for babies and mothers are undisputed. Breastfeeding is linked to decreased risk for infant illness and mortality. It is also associated with reduced risk for maternal illness. It is well-documented that maternity practices in infant nutrition and care have a significant impact on a mother’s initiation and continuation of breastfeeding. Hospitals can play an important role in the health outcomes of babies born in their facility and enhance the health and patient satisfaction of patients.

As the number of women who intend to breastfeed increases, families are seeking hospitals that support and encourage their efforts to breastfeed. Every delivery is a chance to assist the birth family in achieving the long-term benefits of breastfeeding by providing them with excellence in care.

Breastfeeding rates in Alabama lag behind national averages, and many women report they are unable to meet their personal breastfeeding goals. Whether a woman chooses to start breastfeeding and how long she continues is closely tied to the patient care practices she and her infant experience during her newborn’s first minutes, hours and days.

It is understood that the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is the gold standard for improving breastfeeding rates in hospitals; however, according to the ABC, many of Alabama’s hard-working hospitals and staff lack the resources necessary to achieve this international designation. Better Bama Babies assists them in taking the first, solid steps toward achieving the BFHI designation.

“We are extremely proud to be the first hospital in the State of Alabama to earn the Better Bama Babies designation, which underscores our commit to provide superior care complemented by the most advanced medical capabilities for our patients,” stated Brookwood Baptist Medical Center Women’s Medical Services Administrative Director, Sande Brewton, MHSA, BSN, RNC-MNN. “The Women’s Medical Center is certainly no stranger to setting the standard for comprehensive women’s care in the State of Alabama, having established our facility as the first statewide to earn the Joint Commission Perinatal Care Certification in 2015. Our expectation and that of our nurses, staff and physicians is that every patient receives only the highest quality care as part of our Brookwood family.”

“The Alabama Breastfeeding Committee is very pleased to be able to facilitate the Better Bama Babies Hospital Recognition Program to reward hospitals who provide the highest standards of evidence-based maternity care to the mothers and babies of Alabama,” stated Alabama Breastfeeding Committee Vice Chair, Gayle Whatley, RN, WHNP-BC, CLC. “By providing care in this manner, we hope to raise breastfeeding rates across Alabama, which will greatly improve the future health status of both mothers and babies. These measures should also help to improve infant mortality and morbidity rates in Alabama. We are very pleased that Brookwood Baptist Medical Center leads the state in receiving this honor and hope that many other hospitals follow their example.”

According to Brookwood Baptist Medical Center Women’s Support Services Manager, Glenda Dickerson, MSN, RN, IBCLC, who championed the effort for the hospital to earn the Better Bama Babies designation, “As a leader in women’s health, it is our obligation to help lead the charge for hospitals in Alabama to strive for excellence in every aspect of their maternal infant program. Studies have proven there is a direct link between breastfeeding and decreased risk for infant illness and mortality. Brookwood has always been a strong proponent of evidence-based medicine, so pursuing this latest designation was a natural fit for our program.”

To learn more about the Women’s Medical Center and its services, visit www.ichooseb.com.

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