St. Peter’s Health was the first major hospital in Montana to earn the designation as a Baby Friendly facility, meaning we strive to provide evidence-based maternity care with the goal of achieving optimal infant feeding outcomes and mother/baby bonding based on evidence-based maternity care.
During your care at St. Peter's Health, we'll ensure you can take an active role in parenting from the beginning. Your new baby is kept in the mother’s room for the length of the hospital stay to encourage mother/baby bonding. Breast feeding is encouraged through the support of nurses and access to a lactation consultant.
Baby Friendly Benefits and Guidelines
The Baby-Friendly initiative encourages and recognizes facilities that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies, following guidelines outlined by Baby-Friendly USA, Inc., which implements The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative in the U.S. on behalf of The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Breastfeeding has multiple health benefits for both mothers and infants. Besides skin-to-skin contact and mother/baby bonding, human milk provides the optimal mix of nutrients and antibodies necessary for babies to thrive. Scientific studies have also shown that breastfed children have fewer and less serious illnesses than those who never received breast milk.
As a Baby Friendly facility, we are committed to upholding the World Health Organization/UNICEF 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding:
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
- Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
- Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they are separated from their infants.
- Give infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated.
- Practice rooming-in: allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
- Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center.
Learn more about important topics to discuss with your provider at your prenatal visits by downloading our Baby Friendly Topics at Your Prenatal Visits PDF.
More about the Baby Friendly designation
The Baby-Friendly designation is awarded following a rigorous on-site survey. The survey process reviews policies, new practices, and culture changes in the hospital’s inpatient and outpatient women’s health setting.
St. Peter’s Hospital is the first major hospital in Montana to earn this designation, and among just a few hundred designated hospitals nationwide. Other Baby Friendly Designated facilities in the U.S. include Mayo Clinic Health System, Emory Healthcare, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Kaiser Permanente among others.