South Sound Birth Center Recognized for Breastfeeding Leadership

Public officials to join Downtown Olympia ceremony and “Nurse-In” to celebrate award, promote awareness of breastfeeding benefits

Submitted by The Birth House

The Birth House, Thurston County’s only freestanding birth center, will be recognized next week for its role in promoting breastfeeding to help get newborns off to a healthy start. The Birth House recently received the Breastfeeding Friendly Washington Gold recognition level from the Washington State Department of Health.

“Babies are more likely to maintain a healthy weight throughout their lives if they breastfeed for at least six months,” said state Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “Birthing facilities that encourage and support breastfeeding are helping raise the healthiest next generation.”

In 2014, Governor Jay Inslee launched the Healthiest Next Generation Initiative to make the next generation of children the healthiest ever. The goal is to help children maintain a healthy weight, enjoy active lives, and eat well in places where they spend the most time — including early learning settings, schools, and their communities.

As part of the initiative, the Department of Health (DOH) promotes and encourages breastfeeding through the new Breastfeeding Friendly Washington Birth Centers recognition program. Participating maternity centers become eligible after completing the Ten Steps to Support Breastfeeding.

“Breastfeeding supports the physical, emotional, and cognitive wellbeing of newborns,” said Constance Frey, Licensed Midwife and Director of The Birth House. “That’s why the Birth House is proud to join Governor Inslee and Secretary Wiesman in promoting, protecting, and supporting breastfeeding in Washington.”

National Breastfeeding Month

In January 2011, U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin released The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, which includes a call to “ensure that maternity care practices throughout the United States are fully supportive of breastfeeding.” On August 6, 2011, the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) officially declared August as National Breastfeeding Month. Additionally, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action has designated August 1 -7, 2017 as World Breastfeeding Week.

Olympia’s Birth House to host recognition event, “Nurse-In”

In recognition of World Breastfeeding week, The Birth House is hosting a “Nurse-In” at Percival Landing on the Olympia waterfront August 7 between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. All breastfeeding families and breastfeeding advocates are encouraged to come to show their support for breastfeeding families everywhere.  There will be a brief award ceremony at noon at the Harbor House, where the Washington State DOH will recognize The Birth House’s accomplishment.

Cathy Wasserman, State Epidemiologist for Non-Infectious Conditions, will be presenting the award. Beth Doglio, Washington State Representative of the 22nd District, and Jeannine Roe, Olympia City Council member, will also be in attendance.

“It is our sincere hope that this accomplishment will encourage the other birth facilities in our community to view this as an obtainable and necessary goal,” stated Constance Frey.

About The Birth House

The Birth House, a free-standing birth center, opened its doors to the community in 2010, and has helped welcome over 700 babies into the world. The Birth House is a state-certified outpatient facility and is nationally accredited through the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers. They have adopted an insurance-blind policy, and to that end, over 50 percent of all families using the facility are Medicaid recipients.

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