NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst’s “Baby-Friendly” team of physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers. Photo courtesy

NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst a today nounced that it has received international recognition as a Designated Baby-Friendly birth facility. Awarded by Baby-Friendly USA, an initiative of the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the designation recognizes hospitals that encourage and promote breastfeeding and mother-baby bonding. Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, this prestigious international award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies. NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst joins nine hospitals within the public health system that now have the Baby-Friendly designation. Improving maternal health has been a central focus of the de Blasio administration, and this effort builds on the efforts undertaken by NYC Health + Hospitals to ensure safe maternity care at all its hospitals.

“NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst consistently provides high-quality care to mothers and their babies, and we are extremely pleased that the work of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers is being recognized by the World Health Organization and UNICEF through the Baby-Friendly initiative,” said Israel Rocha, Vice President at NYC Health + Hospitals and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst.

“Obtaining Baby-Friendly designation is a rigorous process. Our staff and patients should be extremely proud of all the hard work that was placed into this effort over the past few years,” said Dr. Jennifer Pintiliano, NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst’s Associate Director of Pediatrics. “This designation is an attestation to the exemplary level of care we provide to our patients in Maternal Child Health. The practices are evidence based, which will lead to improved outcomes for our mothers and babies.”

In 2018, 2,327 babies were born at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst. The hospital’s new Mother-Baby unit features 15 private rooms where infants can room in, allowing for an early bonding opportunity between mother and child. Of the babies born in the unit last year, approximately 96 percent initiated breastfeeding immediately following delivery.

To receive the designation, hospitals are required to meet or exceed patient care standards in a rigorous on-site evaluation by the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, including:

  • A comprehensive education program that offers mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies;
  • Immediate skin-to-skin contact for mother and baby after birth;
  • Intensive education of both patients and hospital staff about the important benefits and management of breastfeeding;
  • Allowing newborns to stay with their mother’s 24 hours a day during postpartum care; and
  • Providing connections for breastfeeding support groups in the area.

“Congratulations to everyone at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst on securing the prestigious designation of being a Baby-Friendly birth facility,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “This recognition highlights the great work NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst has done to provide excellent care to mothers and their newborns.”

“This designation shows the high standard of care for mothers and newborns at Elmhurst,” said New York State Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried. “With ten public hospitals now on the ‘baby-friendly’ list, Health + Hospitals is building on its impressive commitment to maternal and child health.”

«I could not be prouder of NYC Health and Hospital Elmhurst and applaud this wonderful achievement,” said New York State Assembly Member Catalina Cruz. “Our district and its residents deserve quality medical care, and NYC Health and Hospitals Elmhurst is here to deliver (literally!).  This important designation from the World Health Organization and UNICEF as a «Baby-Friendly» birth facility proves what we have known all along- that NYC Health and Hospitals Elmhurst provides quality care to mothers and newborns.  I applaud the hard-work, dedication, and excellent service provided by the Hospital’s doctors, nurses, and staff to our entire community.»

“It is hardly surprising that Elmhurst Hospital has earned yet another accolade,” said New York State Assemblyman Michael DenDekker. “I appreciate how important it is that expectant mothers and newborns in our community receive top-tier care, and I am ecstatic that Elmhurst Hospital is up to the task to provide that care. I commend Elmhurst Hospital for attaining the status of Designated Baby-Friendly birth facility, and I hope that Elmhurst Hospital continues its tradition of providing stellar health services to its patients.”

There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently there are 561 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States. The “Baby-Friendly” re-designation is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. The award is maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps as demonstrated by quality processes.

Further information about the U.S. Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative may be obtained by visiting