Helping Moms and Babies at Grey Nuns Community Hospital

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends all infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life, and until two years old and beyond.


Grey Nuns Community Hospital is in the process of being accredited for the WHO’s Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), a global effort to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.


“It’s a Hospital-wide initiative, which means babies are welcome everywhere. An overnight surgical patient is able to breastfeed her baby in her room, new mothers returning to work have comfortable spaces to pump or nurse,” says Gail Cameron, Senior Director of Operations, Women’s & Child Health, Grey Nuns & Misericordia Community Hospitals. “We have a 15-minute tutorial for everyone, from housekeepers to security and volunteers, to learn about the importance of nursing. It’s wonderful to see support throughout the hospital.” 


Breast milk contains valuable vitamins and minerals and unique antibodies that protect against viruses and bacteria. Other benefits include fewer ear infections and respiratory illnesses, and less risk of asthma and allergies.

Covenant Foundation invested more than $39,000 in equipment to support the BFHI, including milk warmers; milk fridges for expressed breast milk; enteral feeding pumps, which give an accurate amount of milk over a specific period of time; and breast pumps to encourage new mothers to improve their milk supply. 


The BFHI initiative even creates change around process and protocol. 


“All of the blood work required for newborns is now performed while they’re nursing. They’re calm, they’re breathing easy. A stressful situation that used to take 12 minutes is now a quiet four minutes,” says Cameron. “It’s a whole picture of health. After decades of breastfeeding falling in and out of favour, we’re back to what’s basic and right.”