Brookings Health System Completes Phase 2 to Reach Baby-Friendly Accreditation

Posted: 6/2/2014

Baby-Friendly Designation Encourages Best Health Outcomes for Babies and Mothers

Brookings Health System has completed Phase 2 of four phases in the Baby-Friendly accreditation process. With the certificate indicating completion of the Development phase, from left to right, are the Baby Friendly team:  Dr. Richard Gudvangen, RN Suzanne Smidt, Dr. Shelby Eischens, RN Mandy Olson, RN Mary Schwaegerl, RN Cindy Pejsa and Dr. Ellen Hopper. Not pictured: Dr. Sarah Smith, RN Aleycia Gerlach and RN Sara Klug.Brookings Health System has completed Phase 2, Development, of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) and has started the process for Phase 3, Dissemination. There are four phases required to become a BFHI accredited facility.

BFHI is a World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) program. The program recognizes hospitals that promote and support breastfeeding through hospital policies and practices as well as the education of staff, physicians, and the community.

UNICEF, WHO, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other national and international health agencies recommend that mothers breastfeed babies exclusively for the first six months of life. Research shows that both baby’s and mother’s health benefit from breastfeeding. Babies are less likely to suffer from illnesses such as asthma, eczema, and ear infections and mothers are at lower risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer and hip fractures later on.

In order to progress to Phase 3, Dissemination, Brookings Health System completed the six tasks required in Phase 2. During Phase 2 Brookings Health System created a variety of plans and policies for achieving and sustaining Baby-Friendly policies that adhere to the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding published by WHO and UNICEF, and promoted by a variety of maternal and child health authorities in the United States, including the CDC.

During the Dissemination phase, Brookings Health System will implement the plans and policies created during Phase 2 before moving on to Phase 4, Designation, where the organization works to continuously improve their program and is assessed by an external review board. Currently no other non-Indian Health Services hospital in the state has been designated as BHFI facility, meaning Brookings Health System would be the first in the state once all phases are complete.

Brookings Health System’s OB unit, New Beginnings Birth Center, has eight beds consisting of three labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum (LDRP) rooms and five postpartum recovery rooms. The unit provides full OB services to expectant parents and enables area residents to deliver their baby close to home with a local physician. To learn more about New Beginnings Birth Center, please visit

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, Arlington Medical Center and White Medical Clinic. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at