Anna Jaques Hospital Receives Two Prestigious Awards for Birth Center Efforts

Anna Jaques Hospital Receives Two Prestigious Awards for Birth Center Efforts


November 2018

NEWBURYPORT, MA - Baby-Friendly USA, a credentialing program for hospitals that is part of an international initiative led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), announced that Anna Jaques Hospital has received the prestigious international recognition as a Designated Baby-Friendly birth facility. The initiative recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for families.

Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, this international award recognizes birth facilities that offer families the education, skills, and support needed to get off to the healthiest start and also to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.  

Anna Jaques Hospital is one of only 14 hospitals in Massachusetts and the first on the North Shore who has successfully accomplished the honor of earning the Baby-Friendly designation.  

During the final assessment which was a rigorous two-day survey, there were no deficiencies cited under the Baby-Friendly model. Baby-Friendly surveyors shared that Anna Jaques, “promotes an extraordinary dedication to community health, wellness and passion to serve all mothers and infants. Staff exhibits a respectful and enthusiastic collaboration with community and state agencies to promote evidence-based prenatal and postpartum education and follow-up support for all mothers and infants.”   

In 2013, Anna Jaques began a rigorous evaluation of internal policies and procedures on the path to become a Baby Friendly-designated hospital. A multidisciplinary team of nurses, midwives, lactation consultants, obstetricians, pediatricians and community members implemented changes to foster compliance with the best practices for mothers and babies in the prenatal, delivery, and postpartum hospital stay. These include:

  • Educating mothers prenatally on infant feeding and their hospital stay;
  • Encouraging skin-to-skin time immediately following delivery through the first feeding for both vaginal and cesarean deliveries;
  • Initiating breastfeeding within the first hour of birth;
  • Encouraging rooming in (mother and baby staying together 24/7) by ensuring hospital procedures do not routinely separate mother and baby;
  • Discouraging pacifier use until the mother’s milk supply is well established except for medical indications;
  • Offering the option of human donor breast milk for babies requiring supplementation.

Clinicians received updated training to fully ensure the multifaceted care plan is effectively followed throughout the entire pregnancy and hospital stay.  

This initiative was championed by Alison Sekelsky, MSN, RNC, Director of Maternal Child Health, and the Lactation Consultant team at Anna Jaques: Tasha Gunnarsson, RN, IBCLC; Hannah Pawlendzio, RN, IBCLC; and Judy Fayre, RN, IBCLC.  

Anna Jaques is also a recent recipient of the 2018 Breastfeeding Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Anna Jaques is one of 14 birth hospitals that were recognized for implementing “Quiet Hours” within maternity units to allow mothers and newborns to rest, bond, practice skin-to-skin, and support feeding on demand, and breastfeeding.  

“These recognitions exemplify our focus on fostering the most supportive environment possible for each family, while providing them with exceptional care and a personalized experience that honors their individual needs,” shares Alison Sekelsky, MSN, RNC, Director of Maternal Child Health.