Vidant Beaufort Hospital receives breastfeeding awards

Published 6:54 pm Friday, August 31, 2018

The North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition has awarded Vidant Beaufort Hospital the Golden Bow award and the Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace and Business Recognition.

When hospitals prove that they have stopped distributing formula companies’ discharge bags, North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition is proud to present them with a Golden Bow award. Golden Bow award winners hang attractive awards in their facilities and are acknowledged on the NCBC webpage, at

Multiple studies show that when breastfeeding mothers are given commercial companies’ marketing bags, they are more likely to start using formula — even if the formula samples have been removed from the bags. The practice also encourages formula-feeding mothers to maintain loyalty to the brand that was “recommended” by the maternity facility, even if it results in financial hardship, as these brand cost 35 percent more than store brands (an extra $700 annually).

In order to earn a Golden Bow award, maternity facilities must demonstrate that:

  • No commercial infant formula gift bags are distributed. Removing formula from commercial bags before distribution does not suffice.
  • All gifts to maternity patients are free of infant formula advertising of all varieties (coupons, samples, infant feeding information published by a formula company, etc.)
  • A 24-hour supply of infant formula is given at discharge only if it is leftover formula from the baby’s cart and/or is medically indicated by the infant’s health care provider.

In addition:

  • Hospitals that do not accept free infant formula from formula companies for their patients will be acknowledged with a gold star next to their names on the web-list of Golden Bow award winners.
  • Facilities that do not distribute any infant formula at discharge for any reason will be acknowledged with a silver star next to their names on the web-list of Golden Bow award winners.

The North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition has been a proud participant in the national effort to increase breastfeeding-friendliness in the workplace. Breastfeeding-friendly employers benefit from lower health care costs, lower turnover and absenteeism rates, higher productivity and morale. It also creates a positive image in the community as a “family friendly” business. NCBC recognizes local companies that support breastfeeding families. In doing this, we distinguish between “Breastfeeding–Friendly Businesses” and “Breastfeeding–Friendly Workplaces.”

Breastfeeding–Friendly Businesses are businesses that welcome breastfeeding mothers as customers. Businesses that have been granted the Breastfeeding–Friendly Business Award can proudly display the Breastfeeding–Friendly window cling. Minimum criteria for receiving this award are:

  • No advertisement of infant formula or related products directly to consumers.
  • Breastfeeding mothers are always welcome and respected. They will never be treated poorly, asked to stop breastfeeding or asked to cover up or move.

Breastfeeding–Friendly Workplaces are workplaces that have made accommodations to support breastfeeding mothers as employees. This can be as simple as allowing employees to have flexible breaks and access to a private room for expressing milk or nursing. The room needs to have a comfortable chair and a lock on the door. Minimum criteria for receiving this award are:

  • All lactating employees are allowed breaks to express milk or nurse their children.
  • All lactating employees have access to a private space for expressing milk or nursing. The space is not a bathroom. The space is lockable and shielded from view. The space has an electrical outlet and hand station.

Vidant Beaufort Hospital is in the process of attaining the “Baby Friendly” status which will give the hospital recognition for their efforts to support and promote breastfeeding among mothers, pregnant women and newborns. Elaine Clark, RN, MSN, nurse manager of women’s services at Vidant Beaufort Hospital said, “I am so excited about the support in the community, the support from Vidant Beaufort leadership and the support of physicians and nurses in Beaufort County for the Baby Friendly Hospital initiative. The Golden Bow and Business Case for Breastfeeding awards are the beginning steps for being a designated facility. The practice of a Baby Friendly hospital is already taking place each and every day on our labor and delivery unit. We just need the designation!”