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.
There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently there are 235 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.
Opelousas General Health System is one of only two other hospitals in the state of Louisiana and the first in Acadiana to receive the Baby-Friendly designation. Terrebone General Medical Center in Houma and Ochsner Medical Center in Baton Rouge are the other two Louisiana hospitals that have earned this designation.
“Opelousas General Health System began the journey to obtain a Baby-Friendly designation in 2012. Numerous changes have been made to provide education to new mothers and to provide the optimal environment for births. Our team has worked diligently to receive this designation and I commend my staff and our physicians for a job well done,” said Pamela Major, Director of Maternal/Child Care at Opelousas General.
“Opelousas General Health System’s Designation as a Baby Friendly facility is the culmination of over 2 years of hard work by the entire administration, physician, nursing, and ancillary staff of the hospital. The Baby Friendly/Best Fed initiative is a movement that is occurring worldwide. We are pleased to be able to offer comprehensive newborn care to the Acadiana area. There is a misconception that the Baby Friendly designation is only for breastfeeding mothers. This is so far from the truth. This designation shows our commitment to increasing bonding, facilitating early family contact, and working to provide a great start to all infants and their families, regardless of their feeding choice.” said Carmen Johnson, M.D. Pediatrician, Team Champion.
Team Leader and Lactation Consultant, Lauren David has been able to experience Baby-Friendly designation not only as a staff member, but also as a new mom. "As we were going through training & making changes, I was saddened a bit because I didn't get to hold my first two babies skin to skin or room in. Seeing the positive response from our mothers here, I longed to experience that also. Then, we were surprised by baby #3 being due right after our site visit from Baby Friendly. Being able to hold Mari skin to skin immediately after birth & having her by my side throughout our entire stay was phenomenal. Forming a strong bond with her right away & taking part in every aspect of her care was just the best birth experience I could have wished for & surpassed my expectations. Every mom & baby should be able to have a Baby Friendly experience!" she said.
Further information about the U.S. Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative may be obtained by contacting
Baby-Friendly USA, Inc,
125 Wolf Road, Suite 402
Albany, NY 12205
Phone: 518-621-7982 Fax: 518-621-7983
Baby-Friendly USA, Inc.
449 Rte 6A
PO Box 1015
East Sandwich, MA 02537
Phone: 508-888-8092. Fax: 508-484-1716
Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: www.babyfriendlyusa.org.
Press Contact: Charmaine Tompkins (518) 621-7982
Seated from left are: Donna Carriere, RN; Pamela Major, Clinical Director of Women’s Services, Lauren David, RN, Lactation Consultant, with daughter, Mari; Dr. Carmen Johnson, Pediatrician, Team Champion; Karen Gremillion, V.P. of Patient Services.
Standing from left are: Haili Dicapo, RN; Lori Lavergne, LPN; Linda Cadman, RNC; Dr. Louis Kerkhoff, OB/GYN; Dr. Allison Hatfield, Pediatrician; Dr. Emily Fruge’ Simon, Pediatrician; Dr. Rachael Tate, OB/GYN; Dr. Damian Badeaux, OG/GYN; Dr. Charles Bertrand, Pediatrician; Rochelle Disotell, RN; Francine Poole, RNC & Vickie Couvillion, RNC