Ventura County Medical Center & Santa Paula Hospital receive Baby Friendly Designation

September 17, 2010
Santa Paula News

Ventura County Medical Center (VCMC) and Santa Paula Hospital (SPH) have both received the prestigious Baby-Friendly Hospital (BFH) designation - the only hospitals in Ventura County that can claim this designation.

VCMC received the BFH designation in 2003, becoming the 36th hospital in the state to receive the designation, and was re-designated in 2009. SPH received the BFH designation for the first time on August 18, 2010.

In the US, only 96 hospitals have received the BFH designation and Ventura County residents now have two BFH in their community. Criteria for the BFH designation includes:

* Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.

* Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.

* Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.

* Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.

* Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.

* Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.

* Practice “rooming in”-- allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.

* Encourage breastfeeding on demand.

* Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.

VCMC and SPH offer new mothers a comprehensive approach to breastfeeding: knowledgeable and caring staff that use a variety of resources to teach the new mother everything she needs to know to successfully breastfeed her infant.


Breastfeeding provides infants an array of health benefits, including a decreased risk of diarrhea, respiratory and ear infections, and allergic skin disorders. The health benefits associated with breastfeeding directly translates into savings for hospitals.

Bonnie Bouley, an OB-GYN nurse manager at VCMC, has been instrumental in the BHF designation process and said, “The criteria is challenging, as they (WHO and UNICEF) are designed to set the standards for the best possible breastfeeding support for mother and infant in the maternity setting.  The process took diligence in collecting the necessary data, but well-worth it maintaining quality of care for our community.  This was largely possible due to the ongoing administrative support of Health Care Agency Director Mike Powers, Hospital Administrator Paul Lorenz, and Chief Nursing Executive Cyndie Cole and to all the nurses and physicians who dedicated countless hours to the completion of this project.”

For more information on Ventura County Medical Center and Santa Paula Hospital, please visit our website:

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