Latest News

Vidant Medical Center receives prestigious international award

February 16, 2012 posted by Beth Anne Atkins

EAST SANDWICH, MA - Baby-Friendly® USA has announced that Vidant Medical Center (formerly Pitt County Memorial Hospital) has received prestigious international recognition as a Baby-Friendly® birth facility. Vidant Medical Center is the second hospital in North Carolina to receive this designation. Mission Hospital in Asheville has also received this designation. 

Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the United States authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund. The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. 

“We are so pleased to receive this recognition,” said Steve Lawler, president, Vidant Medical Center. “It sets us apart and is a reflection of the incredible professionals who are committed to ensuring that our mothers and babies enjoy a great atmosphere and the best possible experience.” 

Based on the 10 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. 

The 10 steps for the United States are: 

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

2. Train all health care 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 the infants. 

6. Give newborn 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 breastfeeding on demand. 

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. 

“Vidant Medical Center richly deserves the Baby-Friendly designation. Women's Services and Vidant Children’s Hospital have worked long and hard hours to change a culture of 50-plus years,” said Dr. Edward Newton, former chair, division of obstetrics and gynecology at the East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine. “Through our dedication and maintenance of the 10 steps outlined by the World Health Organization and monitored by the Baby Friendly Hospital accreditation body, we will help each mother and baby achieve the most effective primary health behavior available.” 

There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently there are 125 Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States. The “Baby-Friendly” designation is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. The designation is for five years and is maintained by continuing to practice the 10 steps as demonstrated by quality processes. 

"The Baby-Friendly designation allows for a healthier transition from pregnancy to motherhood and the newborn period,” said Jenny Elks, registered nurse, Vidant Medical Center, labor and delivery. “Having the Baby-Friendly status recognizes the women's center for providing the best possible care to both mother and baby while they remain together" 

Vidant Medical Center will soon be awarded five stars from the N.C. Maternity Center Breastfeeding-Friendly Designation Review Committee of the N.C. Division of Public Health. The hospital’s maternity center received credit for completing all of the "10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding." 

The designation was developed to recognize those maternity centers that have taken steps to promote, protect, and support breastfeeding in their organization. A star is awarded for every two steps achieved in the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding as defined by the WHO and Baby Friendly USA. The North Carolina initiative encourages maternity centers across the state to promote and support breastfeeding one step at a time. Currently there are only two other five-star hospitals in North Carolina – Mission Hospital in Asheville and N.C. Women's Hospital in Chapel Hill. 

Additional information about the U.S. Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative may be obtained by contacting Baby-Friendly USA, by email at or on the web at For information about the N.C. Maternity Center Five Star designation, please refer to 
español »