Wesley Healthcare June 22, 2015

Wesley is the first and only hospital in Kansas to receive the distinction

WICHITA –Wesley Medical Center, known as the region’s “Baby Hospital” for delivering more than 6,000 babies each year, has received international recognition as a “Baby-Friendly” designated hospital. Wesley is one of just 269 hospitals in the United States – and the first and only in the state of Kansas – to achieve this status, which recognizes the hospital’s support of breastfeeding.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital initiative is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF. Baby-Friendly USA, the United States’ authority for program implementation, conferred the prestigious award.

“Achieving Baby-Friendly designation has been a longtime goal of our physicians, nursing staff and administration to help us better support mother and baby bonding and infant feeding,” said Kathy Walker, WesleyCare Breastfeeding Clinic manager. “Expectant mothers can be assured our staff will provide the professional support needed to help them throughout the birthing process, provide a positive birthing experience and assist them to breastfeed successfully.”

The award recognizes birth facilities that offer mothers information, confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

"It is what's best for both moms and babies,” said Dr. Laurie Gwyn, KU/Wesley Newborn Hospitalist and Medical Director of Well Newborn Services at Wesley. "Modern scientific studies show many benefits to breastfeeding, and there is better bonding through skin-to-skin contact and moms rooming in together with their newborns. We have found that most mothers choose to breastfeed once they have heard the benefits and received education. We have a responsibility to educate and help families become successful in their choice for the healthiest outcomes.”

Baby-Friendly hospitals encourage practices that support successful breastfeeding, including skin-to-skin contact between mothers and newborns, infants rooming in with mothers, early initiation of breastfeeding and breastfeeding education. All of these encourage bonding and improve the newborn's ability to breastfeed. Skin-to-skin contact in the newborn period has also been shown to help babies regulate their temperature, heart rate, breathing and blood sugar.

In order to receive and maintain the Baby-Friendly designation, the hospital must:

  • Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all healthcare staff.
  • Train all healthcare staff in skills necessary to implement the 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 maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
  • Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
  • Practice “rooming in,” or allowing mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  • Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  • Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.

The WesleyCare Breastfeeding Clinic has specially trained lactation consultants who assist mothers in gaining the skills and confidence they need to breastfeed. Lactation nurses begin educating women during prenatal classes and are available to assist mothers in Wesley’s women’s hospital, Wesley BirthCare Center or through outpatient visits to the breastfeeding clinic once the baby arrives.

Wesley was given the designation after three years of program implementation by a multi-specialty team and a rigorous on-site survey.

For more information about Wesley Medical Center and its birth care services, please visit www.wesleymc.com.

Wesley Medical Center is the region’s leading acute care hospital network providing a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for patients throughout Kansas and northern Oklahoma since 1912. As a leader in Overall Recommended Care in national surveys, Wesley treats more than 24,000 patients annually and delivers more than 6,000 babies – more than any hospital in a 13-state region. Wesley provides the most extensive emergency network in Wichita, with Wesley ER, Wesley West ER, Galichia ER and the region’s only pediatric ER. Wesley owns and operates Galichia Heart Hospital and multiple WESLEYCare clinics, and it recently announced plans to build a dedicated children’s hospital. To learn more about Wesley Medical Center, please visit www.wesleymc.com.