Brookings Health System recently achieved the international Baby-Friendly Re-Designation after a rigorous review process conducted by Baby-Friendly USA, the organization responsible for granting the certification.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) program that encourages and recognizes hospitals that promote and support breastfeeding. This includes hospital policies, practices, and staff, physician, and community education.
Obstetrics Director Mary Schwaegerl says, “we’re proud to be one of only two Baby-Friendly Designated hospitals in the state and the only one east of the Missouri River. We know the hospital experience strongly influences a mother’s ability to start and to continue breastfeeding.”
The positive health effects of breastfeeding are well documented and widely recognized by health authorities throughout the world. Many national and international health agencies recommend mothers breastfeed babies exclusively for the first six months of life.
Brookings Health System became the first non-Indian Health Services hospital in South Dakota to receive the Baby-Friendly Hospital designation in 2015. In 2019, Brookings Health was the only organization in South Dakota to earn the IBCLC Care Award for excellence in lactation care and providing lactation programming for breastfeeding families.