Sierra View Medical Center re-designated as Baby-friendly through 2028

Despite barriers presented by the pandemic, Sierra View Medical Center is now the only Baby-Friendly hospital in Tulare County

PORTERVILLE –  Sierra View doesn’t just deliver babies, they are also baby friendly. The hospital recently reintroduced Baby Friendly USA certified education programs to help mother’s take care of newborns in the delivery room and at home.

Sierra View Medical Center (SVMC) was re-designated by Baby-Friendly USA as the only Baby-Friendly Certified hospital in Tulare County. The certification requires that the hospital’s policies follow evidence-based practices as well as teach the ten steps to successful breastfeeding and international code of marketing breast-milk substitutes. The certification also requires that the hospital provide resources for mothers after they leave the hospital.

“The certification allows us to be compared up to the standard and make sure that we’re giving every patient that breastfeeding care. And so it starts at the bedside, immediately after delivery within one hour. And then all the way up to our breastfeeding Resource Center. Once they leave the hospital, we have support groups and classes to help educate mothers. So it’s, it’s a process. It’s not just once you’re here, it’s also once you leave” Maddie Hunt, SVMC public relations specialist said.

The process does not only require updated policies, but training of the whole staff in the proper practices of breastfeeding. Hunt stated, “So the whole team has to be baby friendly. That’s part of the requirements from Baby Friendly USA. So all staff are trained. We do have a lactation consultant that comes in, and such, but if she’s not able to come in, the nurses are also trained.”

The pandemic introduced some more challenges in pursuit of the certification. The reallocation of funds to support covid treatment left many hospitals unable to continue their certification. The nurse shortage as a result of the pandemic also made sparing enough nurses to continue the programs difficult.

Fidelita Cortes, SVMC’s maternal child health director, expressed their pride that SVMC was re-designated even with new barriers posed by the pandemic.

“The highlight of this success is the fact that we were able to pass the rigorous re-designation process while dealing with barriers and restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic. While some organizations shut down their Baby-Friendly services, our team never gave up. I am so proud of our team- with fewer resources and new hurdles- that we maintained the international standards of care set by Baby-Friendly USA and the World Health Organization.” Cortez said.

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