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Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative

newborn baby resting on mother's chestKishHealth System Maternity Suites has achieved the designation of Baby-Friendly and is committed to excellence by providing evidence-based maternity care with the goal of achieving optimal infant feeding outcomes and mother/baby bonding. 

By achieving Baby Friendly designation, the hospitals must adhere to the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” that consist of evidence-based practices that have been shown to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration.    

The title of “Baby-Friendly” may only be used when a facility has been assessed by Baby-Friendly USA, approved by the External Review Board, and the CEO has received the letter from Baby-Friendly USA indicating the facility has been designated, a process that can take several years to complete. Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program initiated in 1991 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF to recognize hospitals offering quality bonding and breastfeeding support to mothers and babies. 

According to Baby-Friendly USA, “Hospitals that receive Baby-Friendly designation report an increase in breastfeeding rates, both in the hospital and after discharge. Mothers who deliver at Baby-Friendly hospitals report greater satisfaction with their overall birth and breastfeeding experience. Increased breastfeeding rates mean better health outcomes for mothers and babies. The Baby-Friendly Initiative outlines specific steps and requirements that must be completed and demonstrated in an on-site assessment.” 

The Benefits

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants are fed breast milk exclusively for the first six months of life and continue to breastfeed for a year with the addition of solid foods and then as long as is mutually desired by mom and baby. Some of the many benefits of breastfeeding in babies include:

  • decreased risk of obesity in childhood
  • fewer ear infections and colds
  • reduced risks of SIDS, childhood cancers, and diabetes

Moms who breastfeed also enjoy decreased risks of breast and ovarian cancers, anemia and osteoporosis, as well as a faster recovery from labor and delivery than moms who don’t breastfeed. Both mother and baby enjoy the emotional benefits of a special and close relationship formed through breastfeeding.

At KishHealth System hospitals, moms and babies receive breastfeeding support, education and counseling in the hospital and after they go home in the Breastfeeding Center at Kish Hospital and through the Mom’s Breastfeeding Support Group

Maternity Suites Tours

Schedule a personal tour of our Maternity Suites today.

> Kishwaukee Hospital

> Valley West Hospital



Coordinated by one of our lactation consultants, our Breastfeeding Support Facebook page is dedicated to supporting and connecting local breastfeeding moms. 

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