MedStar Washington Hospital Center Earns Prestigious "Baby-Friendly" Designation | MedStar Health

MedStar Washington Hospital Center Earns Prestigious "Baby-Friendly" Designation

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Washington, D.C., July 17, 2017 – MedStar Washington Hospital Center has received prestigious international recognition as a designated Baby-Friendly hospital, from Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. The organization’s Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is part of a global program of the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund that seeks to improve breastfeeding rates while encouraging mother-infant bonding. 

Over the past three years, the Hospital Center has raised the number of newborns being exclusively breastfed from below 20 percent to more than 80 percent. This accomplishment represents a significant health benefit to the Washington, D.C. community. With an average 300 births per month, the Hospital Center is the site of more than 20 percent of all births in the District. 

“Significant evidence shows that breastfeeding lowers risks for certain diseases and improves health for both babies and mothers,” said Loral Patchen, PhD, MSN, CNM, director of the Midwifery Program at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “Our Baby-Friendly designation reinforces our goal of ensuring all new mothers receive the information and support, so they can be confident and successful in breastfeeding their baby.”

The Baby-Friendly designation is awarded after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. More than 200 nurses in the Hospital Center’s Labor and Delivery, Mother/Baby and Infants’ Services units received extensive lactation training. In addition, physicians, nurses and other team members have implemented the 10 best practices of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, including initiating skin-to-skin contact with mother and infant at birth and rooming infants and mothers together, minimizing separations.

According to Baby-Friendly USA’s website, becoming a Baby Friendly Hospital is a comprehensive, detailed and thorough journey toward excellence in providing evidence-based maternity care with the goal of achieving optimal infant feeding outcomes and mother/baby bonding. The Baby-Friendly designation is granted for five years.


MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a 912-bed, major teaching and research hospital. It is the largest private, not-for-profit hospital in the nation’s capital, among the 100 largest hospitals in the nation and a major referral center for treating the most complex cases. Its cardiology program is highly acclaimed and its cardiac surgery program has consistently earned the highest national rating–three stars–from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. It also is a respected top facility in the areas of cancer, diabetes & endocrinology, Ear, Nose & Throat, gastroenterology & GI surgery, geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, pulmonology and urology. It operates MedSTAR, a nationally-verified level I trauma center with a state-of-the-art fleet of helicopters and ambulances, and also operates the region’s only adult Burn Center.