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Press Releases

NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan Re-Designated as a Baby-Friendly Hospital

Jan 26, 2024

Metropolitan’s first baby born in the New Year, pictured with Mom.

NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan has once again achieved the highly prestigious international “Baby-Friendly” designation after a rigorous review process conducted by Baby-Friendly USA, the organization responsible for bestowing this certification in the United States. The designation recognizes hospitals that encourage and promote breastfeeding and mother-baby bonding. Metropolitan Hospital earned its first Baby-Friendly USA designation in 2017, and the re-designation is in effect through 2028.

“We are very proud and delighted that our team has been once again recognized with this distinction,” said Cristina Contreras, LMSW, MPA, FABC, Chief Executive Officer at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan. “The coveted Baby-Friendly designation is a reflection of our commitment to mothers and babies and acknowledges the hard work and caring of our obstetricians, midwives, pediatricians, nurses, and other staff, who are all dedicated to making the birthing experience here exceptional. We work diligently every day to provide top-quality services to all of our newest patients and their mothers.”

To receive the designation, hospitals are required to meet or exceed patient care standards in a rigorous on-site evaluation by the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, including:

  • A comprehensive education program that offers mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies;
  • Immediate skin-to-skin contact for mother and baby after birth
  • Intensive education of both patients and hospital staff about the important benefits and management of breastfeeding
  • Allowing newborns to stay with their mother’s 24 hours a day during postpartum care; and
  • Providing connections for breastfeeding support groups in the area

Of the 981 babies born at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan in 2023, 96 percent initiated breastfeeding immediately following delivery.

“This designation is the culmination of a lot of hard work and determination across our organization, all with a goal of helping families get off to a good start,” said Vani Dandolu, MD, Chair, OB/GYN. “We are proud to offer an environment that supports best practices shown to increase breastfeeding exclusivity and are committed to give moms who choose to breastfeed the best chance for success.”

Dianne Velez, RN, BSN, IBCLC, Head Nurse of the Mother-Baby Unit, was scheduled to retire in December 2022 after 39 years of dedicated service, but she delayed her retirement to ensure that the hospital received the baby-friendly re-designation. Diane stated; “My nurses kept telling me, you can leave! The hospital will take care of this. But I said No Way! I’m so proud to have helped to ensure that we secured this re-designation.”

The hospital’s Women’s Health Center has spacious private suites for labor, delivery and recovery with 24-hour visitation. Patients have access to a 24-hour midwifery service. The hospital offers wireless fetal monitoring, so that mothers can walk while in labor, and evidence-based pain management, including patient-controlled nitrous oxide. Families are invited to attend a range of pre- and postnatal classes on topics such as childbirth preparation and breastfeeding to help them welcome their baby into the world.

For more information about the Women’s Health Center at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan, visit Women’s Health – NYC Health + Hospitals (nychealthandhospitals.org) or call 212-423-7769.


CONTACT: MetropolitanPublicRelations@nychhc.org


About NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan
NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan is the community hospital of choice for residents of East Harlem, northern Manhattan and neighboring communities. The hospital provides culturally-sensitive care in a welcoming and hospitable setting, emphasizing primary care medicine and utilizing the latest advances in medical science. It is part of NYC Health + Hospitals, the largest municipal hospital and health care system in the country. For more information, please visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org/metropolitan and follow us on facebook.com/MetropolitanHosp

About NYC Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.