Valley Presbyterian Hospital Receives Esteemed International Award

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Baby-Friendly USA recognizes hospital as a Baby-Friendly birth facility

With more than 3,000 births recorded last year, VPH’s Little Treasures Maternity Services Labor & Delivery unit is the San Fernando Valley’s busiest birthing facility.

Valley Presbyterian Hospital (VPH) is pleased to announce it has received a prestigious designation as a “Baby Friendly Hospital” through Baby-Friendly USA (BFUSA). Baby-Friendly USA, Inc., is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (“BFHI”), a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that provide model care for infant and mother/ baby bonding. The program offers robust criteria through the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” to promote, protect, and support breastfeeding.

“We are thrilled to receive this distinguished designation,” said Lori Burnell, RN, PhD, NEA-BC, Senior Vice President & Chief Nursing Officer. “We are proud to provide breastfeeding support as part of our unwavering commitment to the health of the mothers and babies we serve throughout the San Fernando Valley community.”

With more than 3,000 births recorded last year, VPH’s Little Treasures Maternity Services Labor & Delivery unit is the San Fernando Valley’s busiest birthing facility. Recognizing the advantageous benefits to breastfeeding, VPH has undergone a collaborative effort between its perinatal staff and specialized lactation consultants to provide educational support for mothers-to-be through the journey of pregnancy, as well as during and after their hospital stay. By successfully instilling the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, VPH meets global standards for quality care in the initial stages of mother/baby care.

“This milestone has been the result of five years of planning and implementation to ensure that San Fernando Valley moms and their babies have a healthy beginning,” said Marcia Lynch, RNC, MSN, Director of Women’s & Children’s Services. “Every step we have taken toward becoming a Baby- Friendly Hospital has been led by our drive to provide the best care possible to our patients.” There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently, there are 304 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States. 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 to Successful Breastfeeding as demonstrated by quality processes.

The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding are:
1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement the policy.
3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within half an hour of birth.
5. Show mothers how to breastfeed, and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.
6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
7. Practice rooming-in – that is, allow mothers and infants to remain together – 24 hours a day.
8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
9. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers to breastfeeding infants.
10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

Statistics show that mothers who deliver at birthing centers that offer breastfeeding educational services are more likely to implement breastfeeding and sustain breastfeeding at 6 months and 1 year of age. Research also demonstrates that providing infants with human milk gives them the most complete nutritional diet possible.

The quality efforts led by NICU and Lactation Manager Gina Rai, RN, IBCLC, and the perinatal staff at VPH to implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding courses were essential to VPH’s honorable recognition.

“This achievement is a direct result of everyone’s hard work, dedication and collaboration,” Rai said. “Throughout the Baby-Friendly Hospital designation process, our guiding purpose has always been to provide improved outcomes for our patients and their families.”

About Valley Presbyterian Hospital
Valley Presbyterian Hospital (VPH) is an independent, nonprofit and nonsectarian hospital serving the medical needs of the San Fernando Valley community for more than 50 years. VPH has grown to become one of the largest acute-care hospitals in the region and continues to provide patient-centered care for a healthy community. The 350-bed facility offers advanced technology and a full range of medical services to improve and save lives. For more information, visit

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