University Hospital at Downstate Receives Prestigious Baby-Friendly Designation

By Office of Communications & Marketing | Dec 21, 2022

Accreditation Assures Adherence to Highest Standards of Care for Breastfeeding

BROOKLYN, NY (12/22/22) — University Hospital at Downstate (UHD) today announced that it has 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.

This distinguished honor demonstrates UHD’s adherence to the highest standards of care for parents and their babies. These standards are built on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a set of evidence-based practices recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) for optimal infant feeding support in the precious first days of a newborn’s life.

“We are honored that UHD has received this important designation from Baby-Friendly USA. We have been steadfast in our commitment to providing all necessary resources to give infants the healthiest start in life,” said David Berger, M.D., MHCM, FACS, Chief Executive Officer at University Hospital at Downstate. “I am grateful to the UHD team who work incessantly to provide critical care and support. We will continue to uphold a high standard of infant feeding care for each and every child born at Downstate.”

The positive health effects of breastfeeding are well documented and widely recognized by health authorities throughout the world. The Surgeon General’s 2011 Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding stated that, “Breast milk is uniquely suited to the human infant’s nutritional needs and is a live substance with unparalleled immunological and anti-inflammatory properties that protect against a host of illnesses and diseases for children.”

According to the Lancet Journal, “Breastfeeding initiation is significantly associated with reduced odds of post-perinatal infant deaths in multiple racial and ethnic groups within the US population. These findings support efforts to improve breastfeeding in infant mortality reduction initiatives.”

“Breastfeeding is important to lower the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Reducing the risks of these medical conditions is critical in eliminating maternal mortality and morbidity. The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology is happy that we can support breastfeeding in a multidisciplinary way with our colleagues in the Departments of Pediatrics and Family and Community Medicine by obtaining this Baby Friendly designation,” said Camille A. Clare, MD, MPH, CPE, FACOG, Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University Hospital at Downstate. “Our team of obstetricians, midwives, nurses, doulas, and other obstetrical providers all help our patients with breastfeeding in a supportive environment for families.”

University Hospital at Downstate joins a growing list of more than 20,000 Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers throughout the world, 603 of which are in the United States. All 11 of NYC Health + Hospital Corporation’s acute facilities are BFHI-designated. These Baby-Friendly facilities provide an environment that supports breastfeeding while respecting everyone’s right to make the best decision for themselves and their families.

About SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is the borough’s only academic medical center for health education, research, and patient care. It is a 342-bed facility serving the healthcare needs of New York City and Brooklyn’s 2.6 million residents. University Hospital at Downstate (UHD) is Downstate’s teaching hospital, backed by an outstanding medical school’s expertise and world-class academic center research facilities. More than 800 physicians, representing 53 specialties and subspecialties—many of them ranked as tops in their fields—comprise Downstate’s staff. 

In addition to high-risk neonatal and infant services, pediatric nephrology, and dialysis (kidney diseases)—and offering the only kidney transplantation program in Brooklyn, among many other distinctive programs—Downstate also sponsors a major learning center for young children with developmental disorders and disabilities. In addition to UHD, Downstate comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative, including the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter at @sunydownstate.

About Baby-Friendly USA

As the accrediting body and national authority for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in the United States, Baby-Friendly USA is responsible for upholding the highest standards in infant feeding care by coordinating and conducting all activities necessary to confer the prestigious Baby-Friendly designation and ensure the widespread adoption of the BFHI in the US. Learn more about Baby-Friendly USA and the BFHI at