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2003 Press Releases
Morton Plant Hospital Receives Baby-Friendly Status from World Health Organization/UNICEF

CLEARWATER, Fla. (August 12, 2003)---Morton Plant Hospital recently became the 35th facility in the United States and the second in Florida to receive the designation of "Baby-Friendly" from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). In order to achieve Baby-Friendly status, the hospital demonstrated its ability to offer breastfeeding mothers the information, skills and support needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

"Morton Plant Hospital has always been recognized as a facility that supports a mother's decision to breastfeed. The driving force behind Morton Plant's desire to pursue this designation were the mothers we care for in the community," said Hal Ziecheck, chief operating officer for Morton Plant Hospital.

"Mothers in the area know that Morton Plant will support them in whatever infant feeding method they choose," said Marcia Wiseman-Albanese, director of women and children's services at Morton Plant Hospital.

The hospital offers educational classes for expectant moms to post-delivery and beyond. In addition, there are weekly support groups for moms nursing infants and/or toddlers, as well as a working mothers group. With the philosophy, education and support in place, Morton Plant has increased the percentage of women successfully breastfeeding from 63% in 1991 to 81% in 2002.

"A Baby-Friendly facility focuses on the needs of the newborns and empowers mothers to give their infant the best possible start in life," added Wiseman-Albanese. In practical terms, a Baby-Friendly facility encourages and helps women to successfully initiate and continue to breastfeed their babies. Since the inception of the program, over 16,000 facilities worldwide have received the Baby-Friendly designation.

"In order to even be considered for Baby-Friendly status, Morton Plant Hospital assessed, reviewed and refined its policies and procedures in promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding," said Wiseman-Albanese. "The next requirement was a two-day on-site survey, which assessed our ability of adopting the WHO/UNICEF's 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding."

The 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding are:

1. A written breastfeeding policy routinely communicated to all health care staff.

2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.

3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.

4. Help all mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.

5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.

6. Give newborn infants only breastmilk, unless medically indicated.

7. Practice rooming-in by allowing mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.

8. Encourage unrestricted breastfeeding on cue.

9. Give no artificial nipples or pacifiers to breastfeeding infants.

10. Foster establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital.

Established in 1916, Morton Plant Hospital is a 687-bed facility dedicated to improving the health of all it serves through community-owned health services that set the standard for high quality, compassionate care.

In 2002, Morton Plant was named one of America's Top 50 Hospitals, according to AARP Modern Maturity magazine and a 100 Top Hospital in the "Solucient 100 Top Hospitals: Cardiovascular Benchmarks for Success" study for the fourth consecutive year. Morton Plant was also named to the 100 Top Hospital Overall list in 2002. In 2000, HCIA-Sachs (now Solucient) named Morton Plant as the only hospital in the country to achieve 100 Top Hospital status in four categories - cardiovascular, stroke, orthopaedic and overall.

In 2001, Morton Plant Hospital joined forces with H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute at the University of South Florida, Tampa to provide research and services for cancer patients. Morton Plant also offers a family practice residency program in conjunction with the University of South Florida's School of Medicine. Morton Plant Hospital is located at 300 Pinellas Street, Clearwater, Fla., 727-462-7000.


Contact: Phoebe Ochman/Beth Hardy

Morton Plant News Bureau

727 / 461-8117 Phone

727 / 468-7586 Pager