The Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre (SLBMC) has announced that it has earned the
Baby-Friendly® designation from the Pan American Health Organization for
achieving some of the highest standards of care for breastfeeding mothers and
The programme, which is administered by the World Health Organization and
UNICEF, supports hospitals in giving mothers information, confidence, and the
skills necessary to successfully breast feed in the first days of a newborn’s life.
SLBMC is one of only three hospitals in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean
States (OECS) to achieve the important designation.
“This designation is a tribute to our commitment to ensuring that every woman
who delivers a baby at our facility is given the resources, information and support
needed to help her and her baby get the best, healthiest start in life”.
“This milestone builds upon our strong foundation of excellence in maternal and
infant care, dating back to Holberton, the nation’s first hospital,” said Jacqueline
JnoBaptiste, SLBMC Director of Nursing. “With this new designation, we
officially join other Baby-Friendly Hospitals in leading the way to ensure that
mothers receive the information and support they need to safely and successfully
meet their infant’s nutritional needs.”
It’s been a busy year so far, for births at SLBMC. From January to August, over
500 live births including 13 sets of twins. Over 90% of new mothers that give birth
at Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre initiate breastfeeding during their
hospitalization—with 88% being exclusive breastfed on discharge. Over the past
year the hospital extended its antenatal classes to include all expecting parents in
an effort to equip them with useful techniques and evidence-based information on
their pregnancy to ensure they always make informed choices.
“This has truly been a collaborative effort across multiple disciplines, and, in
particular, this designation would not have been possible without the evidence-
based practice change that our nurses embraced,” said Annmarie Browne-Isaac,
SLBMC Departmental Nurse Manager with responsibility for the Maternity and
Outpatient Clinic Departments.
Another core tenet of Baby-Friendly Hospitals is “skin-to-skin or kangaroo care,” a
practice that enhances mother-infant bonding by placing the baby directly on the
mother's bare chest after birth, both of them covered in a warm blanket and left for
at least an hour or until after the first feed. From January to August this year, under
the expert guidance of the maternity care team, an impressive 93% of all moms
who gave birth at Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre experienced skin-to-skin contact
with their baby right after birth for at least one hour.
“As a pediatrician caring for some of our tiniest babies, it’s always remarkable
how something as simple as breastfeeding and the mother-baby bonding, can be so
effective, said Dr. Shivon Belle-Jarvis, SLBMC Pediatric Depart Chair.
The Ministry’s Chief Nutrition Officer, Samantha Moitt was the lead coordinator.
“The journey to receive Baby-Friendly Hospital designation has been propelled by
the enthusiastic support of the entire SLBMC team and many partners such as our
community clinics and breastfeeding support network,” said Moitt. “It was a large
and diverse team with different training, priorities, and needs but we had a shared
vision and one goal, which is what made the hospital’s Baby-Friendly®
Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Teri-Ann Joseph congratulated the hardworking
healthcare workers on achieving such a significant milestone and gave the
assurance of the Ministry's continued support towards the programme.