THUNDER BAY – Breastmilk is the natural food for newborns. It contains everything a baby needs and has been shown to support long-term positive health outcomes for mothers and babies. Breastfeeding decreases the risk of ear, chest, and stomach infections and obesity and provides protection against breast and ovarian cancer for the mother. Breastfeeding makes a difference to the health of both the mother and her baby.
The TBDHU has announced it has been “redesignated” as a Baby-Friendly Organization by the World Health Organization (WHO) / United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). It is the first Baby-Friendly redesignation in Ontario among community health service organizations.
The redesignation means that since the time of its initial designation in 2006, the TBDHU has consistently maintained distinct, high standards of care for breastfeeding parents and their families, and has carried out advocacy, education and policy work in the community and TBDHU workplace, supporting and promoting the benefits of breastfeeding.
“The Baby-Friendly designation is important for families because it shows the TBDHU has put specialized services into place that are assisting mothers in making informed decisions about infant feeding, increasing their knowledge about it, and supporting them as they continue to breastfeed,” says Laura Prodanyk, public health nurse.
The Breastfeeding Committee for Canada, the national authority for the Baby-Friendly Initiative, conducted TBDHU’s reassessment in June in TBDHU offices in Thunder Bay and the District. Staff education, clinical practices, the practice environment, policies and procedures were scrutinized, and interviews were conducted with staff and clients to determine whether the TBDHU maintained the WHO/UNICEF requirements and outcomes.
“The criteria for redesignation are extensive,” says Lori Molendyk, manager of the family health programs. “Our success speaks to the TBDHU’s commitment to improving the health of parents and families in our district. We are proud of this internationally-recognized achievement.”
Certification is offered in Canada to community health centres (including health units) and hospitals. Twenty-five community centres in Canada have the Baby-Friendly designation with 7 of those in Ontario.
For more information about breastfeeding and services offered at the TBDHU, visit TBDHU.com/HBHF or call 625-5900.
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