Morton Plant Hospital Earns "Baby-Friendly" Re-designation Status by World Health Organization

April 11, 2014

Hospital Meets 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding program

CLEARWATER, Fla., (April 11, 2014) - Morton Plant Hospital recently received "Baby-Friendly" status once again from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). In order to achieve "Baby-Friendly" status, the hospital continues to demonstrate its ability to offer breastfeeding mothers the information, support and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

"Baby-Friendly status is a tangible recognition of our team’s commitment to creating a system of support for our breastfeeding mothers," said Marcia Albanese, Morton Plant Mease director of women and children's services. "Breast milk is uniquely suited for babies and their nutritional needs and helps protect against a host of illnesses for both children and mothers.”

A maternity facility can be given "Baby-Friendly" status by meeting requirements set forth by the World Health Organization and continuing to follow the 10 Steps of Successful Breastfeeding including: helping all mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth, showing mothers how to breastfeed and maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants, giving newborn infants only breast milk unless medically indicated, practicing rooming-in by allowing mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day, and encouraging unrestricted breastfeeding on cue. Studies continue to demonstrate that there are many benefits to breast feeding that extend well beyond the initial first days of life.

With the philosophy, education and support in place, Morton Plant has increased the percentage of women successfully breastfeeding from 63% in 1991 to 85% in 2013. The hospital offers lactation consultants, educational classes for expectant moms to post-delivery and a variety of support groups for nursing moms. Morton Plant Hospital received its first “Baby-Friendly” designation in 2003. Morton Plant Hospital’s sister facility –Mease Countryside Hospital also has Baby Friendly status from WHO and UNICEF.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) was launched in 1991 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The initiative is a global effort to implement practices that protect, promote and support breastfeeding in maternity centers, whether free standing or in a hospital. Since the program started, over 16,000 facilities worldwide in 152 countries have received Baby-Friendly status.

About Morton Plant Hospital
Established in 1916, Morton Plant Hospital is a 687-bed facility. Our commitment to improving the health of everyone we serve is reflected in our community partnerships and many honors. Morton Plant is the only hospital in the United States to have been awarded Top 100 Hospital designations by the Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals: National Benchmarks for Success for a consecutive 13 years. Morton Plant Hospital is located at 300 Pinellas St., Clearwater, Fla. For more information about Morton Plant Hospital, call (727) 953-6877.

About BayCare Health System
BayCare Health System is a leading community-based health system in the Tampa Bay area. Composed of a network of 11 not-for-profit hospitals, outpatient facilities and services such as imaging, lab, behavioral health and home health care, BayCare provides expert medical care throughout a patient’s lifetime. With more than 200 access points conveniently located throughout Tampa Bay, BayCare connects patients to a complete range of preventive, diagnostic and treatment services for any health care need.

BayCare’s family of hospitals are: Mease Countryside, Mease Dunedin, Morton Plant, Morton Plant North Bay, St. Anthony’s, St. Joseph’s, St. Joseph’s Children’s, St. Joseph’s Hospital-North, St. Joseph’s Women’s, South Florida Baptist, and Winter Haven. For more information, visit BayCare on the Web at