Mercy Health  Cincinnati hospitals have earned recognition for their excellent breastfeeding programs through Ohio First Steps for Healthy Babies and the Ohio Lactation Consultant Association (OLCA). 

“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be breastfed exclusively for the first six months. Breast milk is not only the best nutrition for infants, but breastfeeding protects against a variety of diseases and conditions while offering health benefits to the mother. Despite this, several barriers remain today that keep mothers from breastfeeding,” said Dave Fikse, President, Mercy Health  Cincinnati. 

“Mercy Health is taking an active role in knocking down these barriers through the implementation of programs to promote and expand access to resources and knowledge of breastfeeding. The hard work of the staff at Mercy Health is reflected in these awards and recognitions from the Ohio First Steps Program, the Ohio Hospital Association and the OLCA.”

The Ohio First Steps for Healthy Babies Review Committee has recognized Mercy Health  Anderson and West Hospitals as Five-Star Hospitals. To earn the five-star designation, both hospitals achieved each of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, which include showing mothers how to breastfeed and maintain lactation, allowing mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours daily and encourage feeding on demand. The World Health Organization and Baby-Friendly USA defined the steps and a hospital earns a star for every two steps it achieves.  

Mercy Health  Anderson, Fairfield and West hospitals have also received the Maternity Care Best Practice Award “Bag Free” Recognition. This recognition goes to facilities that do not provide any formula company-sponsored materials. This includes free formula, diaper bags, breastfeeding covers or any other free gifts with formula company logos. 

During the Ohio Lactation Consultant Association’s (OLCA) annual Breastfest conference, OLCA members attending represent their respective hospitals and nominate one hospital for recognition as the OLCA Most Breastfeeding Supportive Hospital. West Hospital won that recognition for its excellent breastfeeding program.