Kennedy University selected for “Best Fed Beginnings” program

Shown from left, nurses Deborah Blackburn, Karen DiGerolamo and Sue Bowne, Lactation Consultants Suzi Ryan, and Sue Somers celebrating World Breastfeeding Week in 2011.

Kennedy University Hospital in Washington Township was recently selected to be a part of “Best Fed Beginnings” making it the only hospital in Southern N.J. to be selected for this program.

“Best Fed Beginnings” is a program initiated by the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) where 90 hospitals were selected out of 233 hospitals nationally. The program is 22 months long, consisting of learning sessions and meetings.

Kennedy is already two months into the program and has another 20 months to go.

At the end of the 22-month program, each enrolled hospital must go through a review process, making sure the hospital can follow the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. These steps will qualify Kennedy as a “baby-friendly” hospital.

Deb Schoy, Nurse Manager and Outpatient Women’s & Children’s Services Manager, mentions how the efforts to encourage breastfeeding started before they sent out the application.

“We have already done a considerable amount of training for the staff,” Schoy said.

The hospitals acceptance came just in time to help celebrate World Breastfeeding Week – a global celebration to help promote and support breastfeeding.

Kennedy Lactation Consultant Joanne Naughton, RN ,CCE ,IBCLC , mentioned how important it is for mothers to know the benefits of breastfeeding.

“Early exclusive breastfeeding – with the introduction of appropriate complementary feeding around six months of age and continued breastfeeding for the first year of life – ensures that both mothers and infants receive the maximum health benefits of breastfeeding,” Naughton said in a news release.

According to Women’s Health, the benefits of breastfeeding helps fight against asthma, obesity and type 2 diabetes. For a mother’s health, it can lower risks for type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and postpartum depression.

To ensure that every patient at Kennedy University is well prepared and informed regarding breastfeeding, Women’s and Children’s services has lactation support and educational programs before, during and after childbirth.

Schoy and Cusick expressed their excitement for the hospitals selection into the program.

“Once we achieve [the ‘baby-friendly verification’] we will have to maintain it and continue to meet baby-friendly standards,” Cusick said.

For more information about the program visit

About Kristina Scala

Kristina Scala, a Brooklyn native, has moved her way down the state, finally settling in South Jersey. She graduated in 2012 from Rowan University with a bachelors in journalism and English. She enjoys covering sports, politics and local happenings. Kristina can be reached at all posts by Kristina Scala