RUSH University Medical Center has earned continued status as a Baby-Friendly hospital by the accrediting body that certifies that birth centers uphold a rigorous series of evidence-based practices shown to increase breastfeeding.
RUSH earned the five-year Baby-Friendly hospital designation in 2017 and now has earned redesignation for 2023-2028.
This honor recognizes that RUSH continues to adhere to the highest standards of care for mothers and their infants. These standards are built on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a set of evidence-based practices recommended by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund to offer optimal support for feeding a newborn in the first days of life. Baby-Friendly Hospitals provide an environment that supports breastfeeding while respecting every woman’s right to make the best decision for herself and her family and provide the information needed for safe and nutritious feeding.
“We are proud of our work to attain this designation, which reflects our commitment to supporting parents and infants in those crucial first hours and days,” said Denise Banton, RN, director of the antepartum, labor and delivery and postpartum units. “A mother’s experience in the hospital greatly influences her ability to start and continue breastfeeding.”
RUSH keeps mothers and newborns together immediately after birth and in a private suite during their hospital stay. Staying together promotes skin-to-skin contact, bonding, better sleep for mother and infant and optimal feeding. For infants who need extra care, the neonatal intensive care unit is immediately next to the labor and delivery rooms.
Nurses and lactation consultants offer bedside guidance to mothers who choose to breast feed or are considering breastfeeding, and additional support during their hospital stay and afterward.
RUSH follows up its support of mothers, babies and their families by offering a home visit by a nurse at no cost three weeks after delivery. If a mother requests the visit through the Family Connects program, a RUSH nurse checks on the mother’s and baby’s health, answers questions and connects families with any resources they may need, from food to child care options.
RUSH’s commitment to reducing disparities in care and promoting health equity includes addressing the social determinants of health among its patients and the community. Successful breastfeeding provides superior nutrition and reduces costs to the family, and RUSH is committed to helping mothers who choose to breast feed succeed in their efforts.
What it means to be Baby-Friendly
Clinical research, including many RUSH-led studies, suggests that breastfeeding, especially soon after birth, can positively impact a child’s development. The key goals of achieving and keeping the Baby-Friendly status is to ensure the mother and newborn are together as much as possible to allow for optimal bonding and breastfeeding. The Baby-Friendly designations and redesignations are determined after careful review of each hospital’s practices and staff training.
Globally, more than 20,000 hospitals and birth centers are designated Baby-Friendly; 602 of those are in the United States. These facilities provide an environment that supports breastfeeding while respecting every woman’s right to make the best decision for herself and her family.
About Baby-Friendly USA
As the accrediting body and national authority for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in the United States, Baby-Friendly USA is responsible for upholding the highest standards in infant feeding care by coordinating and conducting all activities necessary to confer the prestigious Baby-Friendly designation and ensure the widespread adoption of the initiative.