Sutter Memorial Hospital has joined a small group of birthing centers nationwide that meet the highest international standards for encouraging new mothers to breast-feed their infants.
The east Sacramento hospital announced today it has earned the title "Baby Friendly."
The World Health Organization and UNICEF created the label for sites that follow certain practices to promote breast-feeding. Baby Friendly practices include training all staff members on lactation, helping mothers begin breast-feeding within an hour of giving birth and giving newborns no formula unless it's medically necessary.
These practices reflect research showing that breast-feeding reduces babies' risk of common ailments and may be linked to health later in life, as well.
The achievement represents five years of training and preparation by Sutter Memorial, which delivers an average of more than 100 babies a week.