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National Lactation Board Recognizes AHN’s West Penn Hospital for High Level of Support to Breastfeeding Families

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

PITTSBURGH, PA.  – The AHN Women and Infants Center at West Penn Hospital has received the International Board of Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) Care Award, an indication of its high level of support for breastfeeding families.

West Penn is the only hospital in southwestern Pennsylvania to receive this award, and one of only 12 in the entire state.

The Care Award, given by the IBCLC and the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) for a two-year term, is granted to facilities that provide training to staff members who care for breast feeding families, and have implemented special projects that promote, protect and support breastfeeding and the lactation consultant.

Care Award hospitals, birthing facilities, birthing services, and community-based health agencies must have one or more dedicated lactation consultant support positions and a dedicated lactation program available five to seven days a week.

Care Award facilities must also have started or completed within the past two years an evidence-based project that protects, promotes and supports breastfeeding, and must have documented training updates for breastfeeding support staff that are unrelated to the project and are free of any commercial influence.

“All of AHN’s Women and Infants Centers offer compassionate, individualized care to new families, supporting them as they pursue healthy choices for themselves and their babies,” said Allan Klapper, MD, Chair, AHN Women and Infants Institute. “We congratulate the clinicians and support staff who contributed to this great recognition for West Penn Hospital.”

At AHN hospitals, lactation consultants who are board-certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners meet privately with new moms after delivery and throughout their hospital stays. Support services include breastfeeding classes for moms-to-be and new moms, phone consultations available by calling 412.578.7030 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, weekly support groups and a retail store that rents breast pumps and sells items such as nursing bras, pillows and books.

Moms who choose to breastfeed give their babies a healthy start that lasts a lifetime.  Breastfeeding’s benefits include a lower risk of childhood obesity, SIDS, asthma, type 2 diabetes, and many other diseases and conditions.

AHN is the fastest-growing health system for labor and delivery in western Pennsylvania, with more than 7,000 births in 2017. AHN Women and Infants Centers offer personalized physician-patient relationships, one-on-one nursing care and family-centered birthing suites. Critically ill infants are cared for in advanced level III neonatal intensive care units (NICU) at West Penn and Saint Vincent Hospitals, while level II NICUs for non-critically ill infants are located at Forbes and Jefferson hospitals.