Allegheny Health Network’s (AHN) Wexford Hospital has earned the 2023 Breastfeeding Friendly Place Award from Allegheny County Health Department’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. AHN Wexford nurses and lactation consultants accepted the “Workplace Award” on behalf of the hospital on Monday, Aug. 7 at the county’s award ceremony and lunch reception.
The Breastfeeding Friendly Place Awards annually recognize workplaces, public places, and other sites away from home that make an extra effort to accommodate breastfeeding mothers and birthing people, according to the Allegheny County DOH website.
AHN Wexford Hospital was recognized for the comfort, design and accessibility of its lactation rooms, and for the hospital’s overall approach to patient and employee care. AHN Wexford offers break times for all employees to express milk in private rooms that are located throughout the hospital.
The rooms were thoughtfully designed with lactating mothers and birthing people in mind. Rooms feature an electrical outlet for a breast pump, a table, a comfortable chair, and a space where users can wash equipment. AHN Wexford designates special refrigeration and freezer units for its employees when they are finished expressing, as well.
The hospital also makes its board-certified lactation consultants available to support parents and encourages children to come during lunch breaks for feeding.
“Since opening our doors just two years ago, AHN Wexford has been deeply committed to increasing access for breastfeeding employees, patients and visitors,” said Allan Klapper, MD, president of AHN Wexford. “There are rooms throughout the hospital – both for pumping and breastfeeding babies – that help to ease the burden for many new mothers and foster a positive breastfeeding environment.”
Last month, AHN Women’s Institute announced that all its hospital-based labor and delivery programs had been recognized for excellence in supporting breastfeeding families by national and international breastfeeding advocacy organizations, the International Board of Lactation Consultants (IBCLC), the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA), and Baby-Friendly USA.
“On behalf of the entire network, we’re beyond proud of the incredible work taking place at AHN Wexford in support of new mothers and birthing people,” said Marcia Klein-Patel, MD, PhD, Chair of AHN Women’s Institute. “For many, the breastfeeding journey and returning to work after childbirth can be challenging, so by making it easier to pump or nurse your child in the workplace, we’re doing what’s best for employee, baby and patient. As a health system, we must take extra care of our remarkable caregivers – because it’s the right thing to do, and because we know that team members who feel valued and engaged also create a more positive experience for our patients.”
Every Wednesday afternoon, AHN Wexford’s lactation team also hosts a “Breastfeeding Café” series, open to the public, that serves as a touchpoint for visitors to share experiences, obstacles and advice with other new parents and clinicians.
AHN Wexford opened its doors in September 2021 with a state-of-the-art labor and delivery program for women and their families who live in the growing northern region of Allegheny County, as well as the adjacent communities of Butler, Beaver, Lawrence and Mercer counties. It’s on track to welcome roughly 1,400 babies into the world this year and has been recognized with industry awards for breastfeeding, patient care and safe sleep practices, among other areas.
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