Harris Regional Hospital earns North Carolina Maternity Center Breastfeeding-Friendly 4-Star Designation

April 12, 2017

SYLVA, NC - Harris Regional Hospital has announced that the New Generations Family Birthing Center at Harris Regional Hospital has received the North Carolina Maternity Center Breastfeeding-Friendly Designation from the North Carolina Division of Public Health.

Harris Regional Hospital was designated with four stars for their efforts in implementing policies and practices that support a breastfeeding-friendly environment for patients. The designation is based on the World Health Organization’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. These steps support initiation, exclusivity, and continuation of breastfeeding.

The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding are:

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all healthcare 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 mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed, and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.
  6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice rooming in-allow mothers and infants to remain together-24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no artificial teats (also called bottle nipples) or pacifiers to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

“I am proud of the hard work, dedication and combined efforts of our Mother Baby and Labor & Delivery nurses with Lactation Services to advance to a 4-star facility this certification period” said Autumn Neesam, Director of Comprehensive Family Services for Harris Regional Hospital.

Participating facilities in North Carolina earn a star for every two steps implemented from the Ten Steps. The North Carolina Maternity Center Breastfeeding-Friendly Designation is valid for a period of three years. Facilities that implement additional steps may re-apply for a higher star level at any time. The new 4-Star designation for Harris Regional Hospital is a vast improvement compared to the previous 3-Star designation. The teams at Harris Regional Hospital have diligently worked to achieve this measurement for the community and the families that will utilize the birthing center in years to come. 

This initiative promotes a continuum of quality improvement and is endorsed by the North Carolina Hospital Association and the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force.

“The next step for the New Generations Birthing Center team is to pursue the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative which is a global program that recognizes birthing facilities that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother-baby bonding. The Baby Friendly certification is a rigorous 4 phase process that only 156 out of 3250 birthing facilities in the US have achieved.” Said Neesam.                                                                             

In January 2011, US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin released The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, which included the Health Care Action Step to “ensure that maternity care practices throughout the United States are fully supportive of breastfeeding.” Harris Regional Hospital is committed to improving the care of our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. We are proud to join the Division of Public Health in its efforts to promote, protect and support breastfeeding in North Carolina.