When this construction is complete, Mother-Infant Care, the Birth Center and the NICU will be located next to one another on the third floor of the hospital, creating an ideal environment for providing care and support to infants and families. It is one of our major objectives in the new building design.
Throughout the rebuilding process, we have been working closely with patients and families to ensure that optimal care continues. We’ve invested in specialized transport equipment for newborns, and mothers in postpartum care who have an infant in the NICU are provided support to visit and nurture their newborn at any time.
While approximately seven percent of US births occur in hospitals holding a license for the “Baby-Friendly” designation, not all of these hospitals have an NICU. Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital is proud to offer a Level III NICU for high-risk and critically ill infants.
Our philosophy is always to be baby and mother friendly, and to provide individualized care for each patient. We are currently studying with our caregiver team and medical staff whether pursuing a “Baby-Friendly” designation license would result in improvements in patient care.
Meanwhile, we follow the principles of care that the designation promotes. We encourage breastfeeding of newborns and provide 24-hour breastfeeding support while babies are in the hospital, as well as ongoing lactation education and a free weekly breastfeeding support group for new mothers. More than 95 percent of new mothers choose to breastfeed their newborns at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. This rate exceeds both state and national averages.
We support and facilitate skin-to-skin care for newborns, based on studies that show it helps infants to maintain a healthy body temperature, heart rate and blood sugar level. During the past year we have expanded our skin-to-skin care practice to enable mothers to care for their newborns with skin-to-skin contact even while in the operating room and recovering from a C-section.
We encourage fathers to practice skin-to-skin care with their newborns as well. Rooming in with baby has never been easier for parents—our new Birth Center’s spacious private rooms include a family area with extra sleeping accommodations.
Providing the highest level of care to our patients is a responsibility we take very seriously. The welfare of our patients is at the heart of everything we do, and we are grateful for the opportunity to care for families in our community.
Herb Geary, RN
Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer
Cottage Health System