RIVERDALE—Southern Regional Medical Center along with eight other Georgia hospitals was selected to participate in a project promoting breast-feeding and supporting new mothers.
Baby Friendly Hospitals® promote and support breast-feeding with supportive policies and practices, staff education and post-discharge community referrals. To achieve this designation, a hospital must implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breast-feeding, according to officials.
Southern Regional Medical Center is located at 11 Upper Riverdale Road in Riverdale.
Southern Regional's Director of Women & Children Services, Jackie Lawson said the hospital was awarded a $7,000 grant from the State of Georgia to fund the program.
"This incentive gives Southern Regional the opportunity to collaborate with new mothers and their families to support their baby's nutritional needs,” Lawson said. “We're thankful to be among the nine hospitals listed and recognized as baby-friendly," said Lawson.
The 5-Star Incentive Project is funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It will provide training, technical assistance and financial support for the nine hospitals that are already making significant progress toward designation as a Baby-Friendly® hospital.
Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., said Georgia currently ranks 43rd in the U.S. for breast-feeding care delivered in maternity facilities.
“There is mounting evidence that babies who are exclusively breastfed for at least the first six months of life have a much lower risk of becoming overweight or obese,” Fitzgerald said. “ In selecting participants for the Baby-Friendly Hospital incentive project, we looked for hospitals that demonstrated the intent to create a policy and put it into practice. A key component of that is having strong executive leadership and the institutional capacity to sustain a successful breast-feeding program that begins while the mother is in the hospital and continues at home. Southern Regional Medical Center met those expectations.”
Increasing breast-feeding rates in Georgia is critical to reducing obesity rates, Fitzgerald said.
“With one in five of our precious children in Georgia classified as obese, our efforts must focus on the very beginning of these new lives,” Fitzgerald added.
The Georgia Department of Public Health and the Georgia SHAPE Initiative chose nine hospitals to participate in the Baby-Friendly Hospital 5-STAR Incentive Project. Georgia SHAPE is a statewide multiagency, multidimensional initiative of Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal that unites the government, philanthropic, academic and business communities in addressing childhood obesity.
The other Georgia hospitals selected to participate in the Baby Friendly Hospital 5-Star Incentive Project are: Doctors’ Hospital, in Columbus; Gwinnett Medical Center, in Lawrenceville; Hamilton Medical Center, in Dalton; Phoebe Putney, in Albany; Southeast Georgia Health System, in Brunswick;The Medical Center, in Columbus; Tift Regional Medical Center, in Tifton and Wellstar Kennestone, in Marietta.