Award-winning community hospital is a model for how quality maternity care can be provided to African American and Latino populations
January 18, 2022 Willowbrook, CA–MLK Community Healthcare (MLKCH) is proud to announce that it has achieved the highly prestigious international Baby-Friendly designation after a rigorous review process conducted by Baby-Friendly USA, the organization responsible for bestowing this certification in the United States.
Out of 3,084 birth centers and hospitals that offer maternity services in the United States, only 590 have achieved Baby-Friendly status. These facilities provide an environment that supports breastfeeding while respecting every woman’s right to make the best decision for herself and her family.
This honor demonstrates that MLKCH is adhering to the highest standards of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. This is especially important given the largely African American and Latino community MLKCH serves. African American maternal mortality is two to three times higher than that of women overall and African American infant mortality rate is 2 times higher. Numerous studies show a critical need for sensitive, high-quality care to support these populations.
“Black and brown moms need and deserve the highest standard of maternal care,” said Charlene Amey, MLKCH Perinatal Manager. “MLKCH is proud to provide that care. This recognition is yet another indication of our commitment that every woman who delivers a baby at our facility is given the resources, education and support needed to help her and her baby get the best, healthiest start in life.”
MLKCH has long been a recognized leader in the care of women and newborns. In addition to the Baby-Friendly designation, MLKCH was listed on the Cal Hospital Compare Maternity Honor Roll for three consecutive years for its low C-section rates.
MLKCH also has a unique midwife-led model, which pairs a laborist with a midwife for all deliveries to ensure women are heard and valued for the best possible results and care for them and their newborns. MLKCH also hosts regular maternity classes on topics including breastfeeding and the first 48 hours with a newborn, as well as a mommy support group.
The Baby-Friendly standards are built on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a set of evidence-based practices recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) for optimal infant feeding support in the important first days of a newborn’s life.
The positive health effects of breastfeeding are well documented and widely recognized by health authorities throughout the world. For example, the Surgeon General’s 2011 Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding stated that “Breast milk is uniquely suited to the human infant’s nutritional needs and is a live substance with unparalleled immunological and anti-inflammatory properties that protect against a host of illnesses and diseases for both mothers and children.”
To learn more about MLKCH’s maternity department, sign up for classes, register to have your baby with us, or to take a virtual tour, visit our website mlkch.org/maternity.
To stay connected with MLKCH, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn @yourMLKCH.
About MLK Community Healthcare
MLK Community Healthcare is an integrated healthcare delivery system that serves the medically-underserved community of South Los Angeles. MLKCH offers emergency and inpatient care through its hospital, and primary and specialty care through the MLK Community Medical Group, with doctors’ offices in three locations throughout South LA. MLKCH also offers community health education and outreach to improve the health of our community. Since its opening in 2015, the hospital has earned awards and headlines for its innovative approaches to quality, safety and patient satisfaction.
About Baby-Friendly USA
As the accrediting body and national authority for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in the United States, Baby-Friendly USA is responsible for upholding the highest standards in infant feeding care by coordinating and conducting all activities necessary to confer the prestigious Baby-Friendly designation and ensure the widespread adoption of the BFHI in the US. Learn more about Baby-Friendly USA and the BFHI at www.babyfriendlyusa.org.