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Natividad Earns Renewal of Prestigious Baby-Friendly Designation

Natividad Earns Renewal of Prestigious Baby-Friendly Designation

International Recognition of Excellence in Care for Breastfeeding Mothers and Babies

(SALINAS, CALIF., Mar. 1, 2024) – Natividad has achieved the highly prestigious international Baby-Friendly designation after a rigorous review process conducted by Baby-Friendly USA, the organization responsible for awarding this certification in the United States. Natividad has been recognized as a Baby-Friendly hospital since 2013. 

This distinguished honor demonstrates that Natividad is adhering to the highest standards of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. These standards are built on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a set of evidence-based practices recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) for optimal infant feeding support in the precious first days of a newborn’s life.

“Natividad has long been recognized as a local leader in the care of women and newborns,” said Karen Fiala, interim director of Women & Children’s Services. “This designation is a tribute to our commitment to ensuring that every woman who delivers a baby at our facility is given the resources, information and support needed to help her and her baby get the best, healthiest start in life.” 

Breastfeeding is associated with several health benefits for both mom and baby. Breastfed infants have lower risks of asthma, ear infections, diabetes and childhood obesity. Breastfeeding helps a mother’s health and healing following childbirth. Mothers who breastfeed benefit from lower rates of breast and ovarian cancers, and Type 2 diabetes. 

As part of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, Natividad follows the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes, adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1981, which supports mothers in initiating and/or exclusively breastfeeding their infants. 

Natividad Women & Children’s Services delivered more than 2300 babies last year and is affiliated with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. Natividad offers a Lactation Clinic that provides breastfeeding support to expecting and new mothers, regardless of where the baby was born. The clinic offers appointments seven days a week and includes a team of four internationally board-certified lactation consultants who offer private, one-on-one sessions for breastfeeding support, including pumping and storing milk. 

“A Baby-Friendly designation is an important stamp of approval from Baby-Friendly USA, Inc., an independent, third-party organization. It affirms our staff’s commitment to new mothers and their babies and helps them get off to the best start together,” said Fiala. “Our knowledgeable team helps new parents learn about their baby and breastfeeding. We address any feeding problems immediately — which helps improve breastfeeding success.”

Natividad joins a growing list of more than 20,000 Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide, 593 of which are in the United States. These facilities provide an environment that supports breastfeeding while respecting every woman’s right to make the best decision for herself and her family. 

For more information about Natividad Women & Children’s Services, please visit # # # 

About Natividad

Natividad is a hospital and trauma center providing compassionate high-quality health care to everyone, regardless of ability to pay. Located in Salinas, Calif., Natividad is a public health care system offering a wide range of inpatient, outpatient, emergency, diagnostic and specialty medical care for adults and children. Founded in 1886, the 172-bed medical center has more than 11,000 admissions and 59,000 emergency visits annually. Home to the area's only Level II Trauma Center, the hospital's specialized personnel, equipment and services provide a vital local community service that saves lives and keeps patients close to home. Natividad's BabyFriendly® facility delivers nearly 2,300 babies every year and is affiliated with UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals. It also operates an accredited Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, giving the tiniest and most fragile babies the best chance for a healthy start. Through its UCSF-affiliated Natividad Family Medicine Residency, Natividad is the only teaching hospital on the Central Coast. For more information, please call (831) 755-4111 or visit

About Baby-Friendly USA

As the accrediting body and national authority for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in the United States, Baby-Friendly USA is responsible for upholding the highest standards in infant feeding care by coordinating and conducting all activities necessary to confer the prestigious Baby-Friendly designation and ensure the widespread adoption of the BFHI in the US. Learn more about Baby-Friendly USA and the BFHI at

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