Newburyport, Mass. – In recognition of its commitment to improving breastfeeding outcomes, Anna Jaques Hospital has been honored with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Breastfeeding Achievement Award. Anna Jaques was one of only eight birthing facilities in the state to receive this recognition. Two of the eight hospitals are in the Beth Israel Lahey Health system, with Winchester Hospital also being recognized.
“We are honored that our commitment to supporting breastfeeding has been recognized with this achievement award,” Tasha Gunnarsson, BSN, RNC, IBCLC, Lactation and Education Specialist at Anna Jaques Hospital. “The benefits of breastfeeding are many for both mother and baby. Education and support are vital in helping families to meet their personal breastfeeding goals. Our staff is specially trained to educate, support, and encourage those who choose to breastfeed."
Anna Jaques Hospital holds monthly breastfeeding classes and weekly Baby & Me support groups, and the hospital ensures that mothers-to-be know this support is available when they need it. The hospital also encourages rooming-in to create a supportive environment for successful breastfeeding. As a result of these measures and others, 70 percent of babies born at Anna Jaques are exclusively breastfed.
“Our priority is to get every baby and family off to the best possible start,” said Alison Sekelsky, director of Maternal Child Health at Anna Jaques Hospital. “Supporting our families for successful infant nutrition, including breastfeeding, is an important part of that. I am so grateful to all our staff and providers that work so hard to deliver exceptional care for our littlest patients and their families.”
According to the Center for Disease Control, infants who are breastfed have reduced risks of asthma, obesity, Type 1 diabetes, severe lower respiratory disease, ear infections, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and gastrointestinal illnesses. Mothers benefit as well, as breastfeeding can lower a mother’s risk of high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer and breast cancer.
Anna Jaques Hospital is also a Baby-Friendly Designated Hospital. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program that was launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 1991 to promote, support, and encourage breastfeeding.
“I am proud of our nursing staff and providers for their commitment and diligence to supporting infant nutrition. At Anna Jaques, this support begins during the prenatal period and we offer consistent, collaborative, and seamless delivery of high-quality care for moms and babies.” said Mark Goldstein, president of Anna Jaques Hospital. “I would also like to recognize Alison Sekelsky for her tireless leadership to all of our families who benefit from our Maternal Child Health program and for championing the Baby-Friendly designation at Anna Jaques Hospital.”
About Anna Jaques Hospital
Anna Jaques Hospital is a 119-bed not-for-profit community hospital serving the Merrimack Valley, North Shore and Southern New Hampshire. With 1,200 employees and more than 200 physicians on staff, Anna Jaques is recognized for delivering high quality community health care with an emphasis on patient satisfaction.
Anna Jaques Hospital is a part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, a health care system that brings together academic medical centers and teaching hospitals, community and specialty hospitals, more than 4,800 physicians and 36,000 employees in a shared mission to expand access to great care and advance the science and practice of medicine through groundbreaking research and education.