Baby-Friendly Hospital and Breastfeeding

In 2012, Mission Hospital became a designated Baby Friendly Hospital. The Baby-Friendly Hospital is a global program and effort launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The program is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care by awarding this designation for successfully implementing the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. Mothers are provided information, confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their infants.

Becoming a Baby-Friendly facility is a comprehensive, detailed and thorough journey toward excellence in providing evidence-based, maternity care with the goal of achieving optimal infant feeding outcomes and mother-baby bonding. Baby-Friendly designation is granted after a rigorous on-site survey is completed.

More than two decades of research have established that breast milk is perfectly suited to nourish infants and protect them from illness. Breast-fed infants have lower rates of hospital admissions, ear infections, diarrhea, rashes, allergies and other medical problems than formula fed babies, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The greatest benefits are derived when babies are breastfed exclusively (breastmilk is the only food) for the first six months of life.

Recent published statistics from the Centers for Disease (CDC) and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) rank Mission Hospital number 2 out of 17 Orange County Hospitals for their exclusive breastfeeding rates, exceeding Healthy People 2020 and Joint Commission goals.

To receive and maintain this award a hospital must:

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
    Please click here to read our breastfeeding policy.
  2. Train all healthcare staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
  6. Give infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice rooming in - allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage unrestricted breastfeeding.
  9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

All of our obstetricians, pediatricians and nursing staff have been educated and trained in the skills needed to support and assist moms and babies with breastfeeding. We offer in-patient breastfeeding education and lactation consultations. We staff Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultants who work in concert with your nurse and physician when the need arises.

Mission Hospital Practices the Following to Support Exclusive Breastfeeding


After delivery and recovery, you will be transported into one our beautifully designed, state-of-the-art Mother-Baby Suites for the remainder of your stay. These suites enable both mother and baby to stay together and receive all care from our experience Mother-Baby nurses in the comfort of your own room. The suite also provides a comfortable place for your support partner who we encourage to stay overnight.

Sacred Hour

Takes place in the hour immediately following delivery and is designed to give you, your baby and your support partner some quiet time to establish bonds that will last a lifetime. This connection of the unwrapped baby lying directly on your skin is called skin-to-skin contact and can provide you and your baby time to get to know each other. This initial snuggling also has very important health benefits for you and your baby. Please click here for our flyer with more information.

Formula Use

Mission Hospital supports the World Health Organization Fair Market Policy on formula. We purchase our formula and use formula for medical reasons or if this mother’s choice. Research demonstrates formula may change gut protection against illness that only exclusive breastfeeding can provide, disrupt supply and demand, lead to breast swelling and decreased milk supply.

Pacifier Use

Research shows feeding cues may be masked, cause long stretches between feedings, may affect suck and causes delay in milk supply. Recommended use only after baby is breastfeeding well.

Manual Expression

Nursing and Lactation staff will teach you the valuable skill of manual expression of your milk.

Beyond these practices, Mission Hospital provides encouragement and support for breastfeeding through our prenatal Breastfeeding Basics onsite or online class, collaborative with physician offices and Perinatal Diagnostic and Treatment Center, postpartum breastfeeding support group, Bridges for Newborn Program and special mobile educational programs through the Newborn Channel.