November 2, 2016

Chicago, Ill. – Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center has been designated as a Baby-Friendly Hospital, becoming the third hospital in Chicago to earn the distinction. As part of a multisector approach towards childhood obesity prevention which prioritizes breastfeeding as a key to infant health and nutrition, the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) has provided ongoing training and technical assistance to Advocate Illinois Masonic and other Chicago hospitals working toward Baby-Friendly status.

The Baby-Friendly designation, managed by Baby Friendly-USA, is awarded to hospitals for integrating the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding into their standard of care. The steps ensure new mothers have the information and support needed to initiate and sustain breastfeeding habits with their newborns. Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center now stands alongside Advocate Trinity (designated January 2016) and Presence Saint Joseph (designated March 2016) Hospitals as Chicago’s three Baby-Friendly labor and delivery centers.

The ten policy and practice changes hospitals must adopt to receive designation include a commitment to help mothers initiate breast feeding within an hour of giving birth, the support of “rooming in” to allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day, providing infants no food or drink beyond breastmilk unless medically necessary and the training of all healthcare staff in the skills necessary to implement Baby Friendly policy.

Recent evidence suggests a lower likelihood of obesity among children who were breastfed, along with many other health benefits. Data collected by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Chicago Public Schools in 2010-11 revealed obesity rates as high as 1-in-5 for kindergartners and more than 1-in-4 for 6th graders. Adoption of Baby-Friendly’s ten-step process is a tactic outlined in CLOCC’s Blueprint for Accelerating Progress in Childhood Obesity Prevention in Chicago.

Advocate Illinois Masonic is the 13th labor and delivery center in Illinois to obtain Baby-Friendly status. An additional 11 medical facilities in Chicago are engaged in the certification track. The BHFI was created in 1991 by the World Health Organization and UNICEF to foster maternity care practices that promote and support breastfeeding. Today, over 20,000 maternity and infant care facilities in more than 150 countries, including 388 in the United States, are designated as Baby-Friendly.

The following Chicago hospitals are currently working toward Baby-Friendly designation:

• Mercy Hospital and Medical Center
• Norwegian American Hospital
• Prentice Women’s Hospital
• Presence Resurrection Medical Center
• Presence Saints Mary & Elizabeth Hospital
• Rush University Medical Center
• John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County
• Saint Anthony Hospital
• Swedish Covenant Medical Center
• University of Chicago Medical Center
• University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center


The Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) is a nationally-recognized childhood obesity prevention program housed at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Its mission is to confront the childhood obesity epidemic by promoting healthy and active lifestyles for children throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. CLOCC creates and sustains the types of multi-sector collaboration recommended by our nation’s health leaders. Currently, CLOCC has over 3,000 participants representing over 1,300 organizations. For more information, visit Contact: Eric Goodwin, Communications Specialist,, (312) 227-7043