UnityPoint earns Baby-Friendly designation

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 9:19 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - UnityPoint Health Methodist received a Baby-Friendly designation, an honor that fewer than 600 hospitals in the country have earned.

“We are so excited, we are so proud. Every single one of our staff members made a difference in this designation,” UnityPoint lactation consultant Beth Seidel, IBCLC said.

The designation meant that UnityPoint followed the standards of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies that World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund had in place. They offered extra help and care to families as it relates to feeding.

“We are very supportive of breastfeeding as just the biological norm,” Seidel said. “But we are supportive of helping every parent meeting their goals. We are supportive of them making an informed choice and doing what’s right for their family.”

It took the hospital many years to finalize their feeding plans that include the baby-friendly USA ten steps to successful breastfeeding. The steps include:


1 A. Comply fully with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and relevant World Health Assembly resolutions.

1 B. Have a written infant feeding policy that is routinely communicated to staff and parents.

1 C. Establish ongoing monitoring and data-management systems.

2. Ensure that staff have sufficient knowledge, competence and skills to support breastfeeding.


3. Discuss the importance and management of breastfeeding with pregnant women and their families.

4. Facilitate immediate and uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact and support mothers to initiate breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth.

5. Support mothers to initiate and maintain breastfeeding and manage common difficulties.

6. Do not provide breastfed newborns any food or fluids other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated.

7. Enable mothers and their infants to remain together and to practice rooming-in 24 hours a day.

8. Support mothers to recognize and respond to their infants’ cues for feeding.

9. Counsel mothers on the use and risks of feeding bottles, artificial nipples (teats) and pacifiers.

10. Coordinate discharge so that parents and their infants have timely access to ongoing support and care.

“We made evidence-based practice changes that are truly the best for the families in our community and yes, we are so proud to be able to provide this level of care in Peoria,” Seidel said.

Local health departments and donation centers are still feeling the effects of the baby formula shortage. The shortage could have more families leaning on breast feeding.

“A lot of parents who would have chosen to formula feed are choosing to pump their milk so that they will have that option of their own breastmilk if they can’t find formula,” Seidel said.