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Family-Centered Care

At Whittier Hospital Medical Center, we are dedicated to meeting the needs of the mother, infant, and the entire family. It is a partnership that honors the strengths, culture, traditions and expertise that everyone brings to the relationship.


Launched worldwide in 1992, the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a joint project of WHO (World Health Organization) and UNICEF. The goal of the initiative is to recognize hospitals and maternity centers that show their commitment to providing a positive environment for breastfeeding mother by fulfilling rigorous standards. Whittier Hospital Medical Center is working towards achieving this prestigious designation.

Couplet Care

Couplet Care is a model of care where the mother and infant are cared for together, by the same nurse, in the mother's room. This model of care facilitates:

Learning of infant feeding cues
Parenting skills
Promotion of family attachment and bonding


Rooming-in means the newborn baby stays with the mother in the mother's room throughout the hospital stay unless medically contraindicated.

Advantages of Couplet Care and Rooming-In:

Baby sleeps better being with mother
Infant stress hormones are minimized
Breast milk comes in sooner
Infant feeds more often
Increased rate of exclusive breastfeeding
Facilitates nurse-patient teaching
Helps improve new mother's ability to recognize infant feeding cues/hunger

Vaginal Deliveries

Babies who are delivered vaginally will be kept with their mothers up to two hours in Labor & Delivery. The infant will be immediately placed in skin-to-skin contact with mother and encouraged to breastfeed. Mom and baby will be taken to postpartum, unless medically contraindicated.

Cesarean Sections

Babies delivered by cesarean section will be placed in skin-to-skin contact with the mother for a short period of time before moving mom to the recovery room. The baby will be transported by the nurse to the nursery and kept there until the mother is fully recovered. The father or significant other is also encouraged to provide skin-to-skin contact with the infant. Rooming-In will start when the mother is fully recovered and transferred to the postpartum room and the infant is stable. The goal is to reunite mother and infant as soon as the mother is medically stable and has returned to her room. Cesarean sections may be performed in the operating room suite in Labor and Delivery, or in the main operating room suite in Perioperative Services.

Infants Separated from Mothers

If mother and infant are separated for medical reasons, such as phototherapy, mother or father can provide skin-to-skin contact. The mother may breastfeed in the Nursery if medically stable. Maternal/infant skin-to-skin contact will be started as soon as they are reunited and documented in the medical record.


Evidence-based research has shown that breast milk provides the best nutrition for infant feeding and is also beneficial for mom. This is the standard of care at Whittier Hospital Medical Center. Mothers will be taught to use a breast pump and hand expression within 6 hours of separation from her baby. The colostrum, or breast milk, obtained by expression will be given to the baby unless contraindicated. Mothers will be encouraged to begin pumping as soon as it is medically feasible and will be taught to pump at least 8 times in 24 hours and document on a pumping log. If the infant requires a higher level of care, the infant will be transferred to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at another facility. The father or significant other may bring the stored breastmilk to the infant until the mother is discharged. Education and printed information regarding handling and storage of breast milk will be provided.

For more information, please call 562.945.3561 ext. 8450, 1773, 1774 or email us at
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