THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS (January 27, 2016)

Staff of The Woodlands Hospital received baby friendly designationMemorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center has received prestigious international recognition as a Baby-Friendly® Designated birth facility by Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. Only four hospitals in the greater Houston area, including Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital have received the designation.

“This recognition is an outstanding honor and achievement for our staff and affiliated physicians,” said Josh Urban, Senior Vice President and CEO of Memorial Hermann The Woodlands. “We are steadfastly committed to providing the highest quality expert care to our mothers and infants.”

Baby-Friendly USA, Inc is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (“BFHI”), a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.

Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, this prestigious international award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

“Baby-Friendly recognition is only given to facilities who earn it by meeting challenging criteria that ultimately benefits mothers, their newborns and our community,” said Catherine Giegerich, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands. “The standards are designed to provide the best possible support for mothers and the best nutritional start possible for infants.

To prepare for the designation process, Memorial Hermann The Woodlands participated in the Best Fed Beginnings initiative, run by the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Best Fed Beginnings was a first-of-its-kind, nationwide quality improvement initiative to help a select 89 hospitals across the country, of which Memorial Hermann The Woodlands and Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital were part of, to improve maternity care and increase the number of Baby-Friendly designated hospitals in the United States.

There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently there are 326 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States. The “Baby-Friendly” designation is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. The award is maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps as demonstrated by quality processes.