Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center is the First in Maryland to Earn an International Designation for Breastfeeding Support

Breastfeeding has many benefits for both moms and babies, research has shown. However, support and guidance during the first days following birth are critical to begin and continue with breastfeeding long-term.

Earlier this year, Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center became the first hospital in Maryland and one of only 179 in the U.S. to achieve Baby-Friendly designation through the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program that encourages and recognizes hospitals that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding. Only 7.2 percent of babies in the U.S. are born in a Baby-Friendly designated facility.

For new and expectant moms, this means extra levels of support and education when they deliver at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center.

“Breastfeeding has numerous benefits for babies, including a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome, diabetes, respiratory and ear infections, skin allergies and obesity later in life,” says Carol Chornock, RN, IBCLC, lactation coordinator at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center. “Our physicians and staff are trained and educated in helping new mothers get off to the best start for breastfeeding.”

All of Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center’s breastfeeding classes are staffed by certified lactation consultants who specialize in the clinical management of breastfeeding.

Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center offers extra support to help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth. The hospital also has a standard practice of “rooming-in,” which allows mothers and infants to stay together 24 hours a day.

“Baby-Friendly truly empowers the mother to be the best mother she can be, regardless of her choice in feeding,” Chornock says.

Making the Grade

charis-mbuguaFor Prince George’s County High School English teacher Charis Mbugua of Clarksburg and her husband, Peter, manager of planning and market analysis for Adventist HealthCare, Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center “made the grade” when they were deciding where to deliver their first child.

“I loved the atmosphere,” Mbugua says. “As soon as we finished the tour, I knew this was where we wanted to deliver.”

With daily breastfeeding classes for mothers in the hospital, weekday phone support and a free weekly support group, new parents like the Mbuguas have help every step of the way.

“I think new mothers are so overwhelmed with all the do’s and don’ts of parenting that it is so helpful to know you will have professionals guiding you and providing support before, during and after the birth,” Mbugua says.

The Mbuguas Share Their Birth Experience

Read about Charis and Peter Mbugua’s birth experience and learn more about Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center’s Baby-Friendly designation.

In addition to being Baby-Friendly, Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center has obtained gold-level Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace recognition from the Maryland Breastfeeding Coalition, as well as the International Board of Lactation Consultants Care Award.

Support Across the System

For moms in southern and eastern Montgomery County, Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park, also a member of Adventist HealthCare, offers comprehensive breastfeeding classes and support at the hospital for new parents.

“Breast milk is the optimal food for infants, because it has the correct amount of protein and other nutrients to promote infant growth and development,” says Stacy Andrews MD, Ob-Gyn at Washington Adventist Hospital. “While breastfeeding is linked to benefits for babies, it is also associated with a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers for mothers.”

Both hospitals offer a full range of child care classes for expecting and new parents, including classes on childbirth, infant CPR and fatherhood.