All Seven WCHOB Outpatient Centers Granted Breastfeeding Friendly Practice Designation by NYSDOH

Updated: 7/23/2014
Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo (WCHOB) is proud to announce that seven of its outpatient centers were designated as Breastfeeding Friendly Practices by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). The designation, which was officially granted on June 26, 2014, highlights practices that encourage breastfeeding in the mothers they serve and in the local community. This is the first time the NYSDOH has granted this designation.

The Breastfeeding Friendly designation applies to the following WCHOB facilities: Elmwood OB/GYN, Kensington OB/GYN, Lancaster OB/GYN, Lockport OB/GYN, McKinley OB/GYN, North Tonawanda OB/GYN and the WNY Regional Perinatal Center. This group of WCHOB facilities is one of only 15 designated practices in the state and one of only six given to OB/GYN centers. WCHOB is the only facility that received designation for multiple sites.

“This designation recognizes our efforts to educate, encourage and assist families in the important decision to initiate and maintain healthier behaviors for new moms and their babies,” said Barbara Neilson, MSN, WHNP, practice manager of the OB/GYN Centers and WNY Regional Perinatal Center, WCHOB. “Our goal has always been to improve birth outcomes. The Breastfeeding Friendly designation will continue to use evidence based research to help us promote best practices for the women and families we serve.”

The aim of a Breastfeeding Friendly Practice is to increase the percentage of mothers who initiate breastfeeding at birth and maintain breastfeeding exclusivity for the first six months of life. Breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding, has been shown to be beneficial for infants and mothers alike. Infants that breastfeed reduce their risk of asthma, gastroenteritis, obesity, respiratory infections, and chronic conditions. For mothers, breastfeeding for a minimum of one year has been shown to increase maternal-infant bonding and reduce the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and multiple other conditions.

When entering any WCHOB OB/GYN Center or the WNY Regional Perinatal Center, signs of a breastfeeding friendly environment are immediately evident. Each center offers a display of breastfeeding education materials with information on advice, important facts, nutritional needs, support and more. Staff has been trained in the skills necessary to implement and maintain a breastfeeding-friendly office policy, and breastfeeding “champions” have been identified at each site. WCHOB also offers patients immediate access to breastfeeding support classes offered by our Childbirth Education Department, as well as board certified lactation consultants who are available seven days a week to help mothers successfully breastfeed and bond with their infants.

In addition, Elmwood OB/GYN, located at 239 Bryant Street inside WCHOB, is home to a Baby Café, a designated drop-in center that supports and encourages women and their families with breastfeeding. The Café offers expecting or new mothers free and regular access to board certified lactation consultants and peer support for breastfeeding on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-6 p.m. and is open to all new or expecting mothers regardless of where prenatal care is being received or the baby is planned to be delivered.

Thanks to collaborations with community partners at both the local and national level, including the P2 Collaborative of Western New York, March of Dimes and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program, we will continue to increase our breastfeeding rates and maintain the Breastfeeding Friendly Practice designation. These partners and more have helped WCHOB meet the rigorous standards set for the NYSDOH’s pilot group of Breastfeeding Friendly Practices and will remain crucial resources in educating Western New York moms about the health benefits of breastfeeding.

WCHOB owns and operates six OB/GYN Centers in Buffalo, Hamburg, Lancaster, Lockport and North Tonawanda. These centers offer a comprehensive range of health professionals and services on-site, including fetal monitoring, ultrasound examination, and routine GYN care from early teens through menopause and beyond. They also provide immediate access to childbirth education, lactation services, registered dieticians and genetic counseling and testing provided by WCHOB.

Designated by New York State as the Regional Perinatal Center for Western New York, WCHOB offers a comprehensive maternal and newborn service assessing high-risk women who may be having a high-risk fetus which will require a high level of specialized care. WCHOB is the only hospital in Western New York to offer these specialized services for babies.