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The Ohio Hospital Association and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) are proud to offer the Ohio First Steps for Healthy Babies breastfeeding recognition program. The purpose of this program is to recognize maternity centers in Ohio that have taken steps to promote, protect and support breastfeeding in their organizations. The program offers a number of opportunities for learning and networking in support of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.

The Ohio First Steps for Healthy Babies program will recognize hospitals for implementing the Ten Steps, using a modified application form. A five-star program has been developed, whereas one level is awarded for every two steps achieved in the Ten Steps. Hospitals can choose which steps to implement and in which order.

Applications are being accepted on a quarterly basis, and more information and application materials are available at

First Steps - Recognized Hospitals

Ohio First Steps for Healthy Babies is proud to announce that 60 Ohio hospitals have been awarded recognition in achieving a level of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.

Recognized hospitals can be found here


**BAG FREE APPLICATION OPEN FOR 2016!! Click here to apply for recognition

"Ban the Bag" - 2015 Recognized Hospitals

The Ohio First Steps for Healthy Babies, in partnership with the Ohio Breastfeeding Alliance and the Ohio Lactation Consultant Association, accepted applications for the "Maternity Care Best Practice Award 2015" bag free recognition. This recognizes hospitals for removal of free infant formula samples and formula company branded diaper bags and goods. This supports hospitals in progress towards practices that align with "Baby Friendly USA" certification requirements, as well as the overall goal of reducing infant mortality in Ohio.

Recognized hospitals can be found here

Making the Case for Breastfeeding

Many leading health organizations agree that exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and continued exposure to breast milk for at least the first 12 months is associated with improved infant health and a reduction in infant mortality.

Increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration is the third statewide effort in support of OHA's infant mortality reduction plan.
Important Resources:Click here to view poster

Ohio Shared Best Practices

University of Cincinnati Medical Center If you have any resources you would like to share with the state initiative, please contact Ryan Everett.

Educational Opportunities

In addition to providing recognition, the Ohio First Steps for Healthy Babies program will offer training opportunities in support of best practices to promote breastfeeding initiation and duration.

November 9, 2016 - Educational Webinar

TopicStep 3 – Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding
PresentersMary (Libby) Svoboda, Med, BSN, IBCLC, FACCE – UH MacDonald Women’s Hospital & Jennifer Foster, BSN, RN, IBCLC – Summa Health System
Recorded Session    -    Slides

January 13, 2017Coaching and Educational Webinar

Presenter Coe Bell, RN, MSN, IBCLC, from Cleveland Clinic and current President of the Ohio Lactation Consultant Association shared successes and best practices that led to improvements in the exclusive breastfeeding rates at Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital. Lori Nester from the Ohio Breastfeeding Alliance discussed a newly launched resource created for Ohio practitioners and patients. Jennifer Foster discussed the 2016 Maternity Care Best Practice Award, hosted by First Steps, OLCA, and OBA. 
Recorded Session    -    Slides

Upcoming Calls (all calls are from noon-1pm and will be recorded)
  • February 10
  • March 10
  • April 14
  • May 12
  • June 9

For information about attending upcoming calls and to stay informed about future education opportunities, email Ryan Everett.

Kickoff Webinar

The Ohio First Steps initiative officially kicked off March 25 with an information webinar. OHA was joined by the Ohio Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospital representatives and others to share information about hospital practices supportive of breastfeeding and the Ohio First Steps program. Below you'll find resources shared on the webinar, as well as a recording in case you missed it.

Recognized Baby-Friendly Hospitals

Congratulations to these Ohio hospitals that have achieved Baby-Friendly Hospital status:

  • OhioHealth Doctors Hospital
  • Fairview Hospital (Cleveland Clinic)
  • Hillcrest Hospital (Cleveland Clinic)
  • Licking Memorial Hospital
  • Medina Hospital (Cleveland Clinic)
  • Mercy Hospital Anderson
  • Mercy Hospital Fairfield
  • Southview Medical Center
  • Summa Akron City Hospital
  • UH MacDonald Women's Hospital
  • University of Cincinnati Medical Center

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