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Virginia Baptist Hospital Gets Baby Friendly

Lynchburg, VA - If you hear a few hoots and hollers coming out of Virginia Baptist Hospital in Lynchburg -- it's for good reason. The staff just got word this week they are now a Baby Friendly hospital -- meaning they provide the gold standard when it comes to breast-feeding education and support, according to Baby Friendly USA. The halls of the Mother Baby unit at Virginia Baptist Hospital may look the same, but what's happening inside the rooms has really evolved over the last couple of years. Dr. Christine Marraccini is an OB-GYN. "Well, beforehand we were focused a little bit more on making sure the baby was fine and taking them over to a bed," Marraccini explained. "But now we realize the baby really is best with the mom and going straight to the mom is really the best bed a baby can have." It's caballed skin to skin -- baby put right on the mother's chest after birth and Marraccini said it's the first step to encourage breast-feeding and bonding. "Oh the mothers have been so happy," Marraccini said. "The first thing that want to do it envelop that baby in their arms. That's exactly what they get to do here." Anesthesiologist Dr. Martha Donegan put a plan together to make skin to skin happen in the operating room too. "We're doing skin to skin during c-sections, which not many hospitals in America do," Donegan said. "When I researched the literature I couldn't find any on skin to skin on c-sections in the operating room. Donegan said she's witnesses some very interesting things happen in that hour after birth. "The interesting thing to me is that the mother's vital signs are so much better when she is doing skin to skin -- there's less nausea and vomiting, her blood pressure is more stable and everyone is happy!" Carolyn Jacques is Vice President of Women and Children's Services -- and one of people who's seen this effort through from the beginning. "I have to tell you the moms are now coming in and requesting skin to skin contact, they know we offer rooming in where the mom and baby stay together," Jacques said. She said the end of the road with this Baby Friendly designation is really just the beginning for better care for moms and babies. "It's truly heartwarming to see a whole culture change," Jacques said. Virginia Baptist is one of only three hospitals in the state with the Baby Friendly designation - the only one in the ABC 13 viewing area. There are 260 across the country.

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