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2011 Press Releases
Mease Countryside Hospital Receives Baby-Friendly Status from World Health Organization/UNICEF


SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. (June 14, 2011) - Mease Countryside Hospital has been designated as the 109th "Baby-Friendly" Hospital in the United States and 3rd in the state of Florida by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). In order to achieve "Baby-Friendly" designation, the hospital demonstrated its ability to offer breastfeeding mothers the information, skills and support needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.  

"Breast milk is uniquely suited to the nutritional needs of babies and protects against a host of illnesses and diseases for both children and mothers," said Marcia Albanese, director of women's and children's services. "Our entire team including physicians, nurses and lactation consultants have worked together to create a system of support for breastfeeding moms."

A maternity facility can be given "Baby-Friendly" status by meeting requirements set forth by the World Health Organization and continuing to follow the 10 Steps of Successful Breastfeeding including helping all mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth, showing mothers how to breastfeed and maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants, giving newborn infants only breast milk unless medically indicated, practicing rooming-in by allowing mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day, and encouraging unrestricted breastfeeding on cue. Studies continue to demonstrate that there are many benefits to breast feeding that extend well beyond the initial first days of life. The hospital also offers educational classes for expectant moms to post-delivery and beyond and there are support groups for nursing moms. 

Additionally, the breastfeeding program at Mease Countryside was nationally recognized with the Care Award from the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) and the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA). Approximately 80% of new mother patients at Mease Countryside this year chose breastfeeding.  

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), launched in 1991, is an effort by UNICEF and the World Health Organization to ensure that all maternities, whether free standing or in a hospital, become centers of breastfeeding support.  Since the program started, over 16,000 facilities worldwide in 134 countries have received the Baby-Friendly designation.   

About Mease Countryside Hospital

Mease Countryside Hospital is a 300-bed facility committed to improving the health of everyone it serves. Mease Countryside has been awarded nine Top 100 Hospital designations in the areas of stroke, orthopaedic, intensive care and overall care by the Solucient 100 Top Hospitals: National Benchmarks for Success. The hospital was awarded Magnet Designation for the second time by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the most prestigious national recognition of excellence in nursing care. Mease Countryside Hospital is located at 3231 McMullen Booth Rd., Safety Harbor, Fla.

About BayCare Health System

BayCare Health System is a leading community-based health system in the Tampa Bay area. Composed of a network of 10 not-for-profit hospitals, outpatient facilities and services such as imaging, lab, behavioral health and home health care, BayCare provides expert medical care throughout a patient's lifetime. With more than 200 access points conveniently located throughout Tampa Bay, BayCare connects patients to a complete range of preventive, diagnostic and treatment services for any health care need. 

BayCare's family of hospitals are: Mease Countryside, Mease Dunedin, Morton Plant, Morton Plant North Bay, St. Anthony's, St. Joseph's, St. Joseph's Children's, St. Joseph's Hospital-North, St. Joseph's Women's, and South Florida Baptist. For more information, visit BayCare on the Web at


Media contacts:

Beth Hardy, (727) 298-6199 Phone, (727) 402-8113 Pager

Denise Moore, (727) 461-8538 Phone, (727) 402-5975 Pager