Newswise — Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center (JSUMC) has been redesignated as a Baby-Friendly Hospital.  The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is an international health program that promotes evidence-based infant feeding practices to ensure all families receive the education and support needed to meet their infant feeding goals, ultimately improving the health of women and children in the community. 

“This designation is a tribute to our commitment to ensuring that every family who delivers a baby at our facility is given the resources, information and support needed to help them get the best, healthiest start in life,” said Ellen Angelo, DNP, MSN, R.N., CCRN, vice president and chief nursing officer, JSUMC.

This distinguished honor demonstrates that Jersey Shore University Medical Center is adhering to the highest standards of care for breastfeeding mothers 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.

“The hospital experience strongly influences a mother’s ability to start and continue breastfeeding,” said Cassandra Leahy, DNP, MSN, RN, IBCLC, clinical program manager, BFHI, director of Clinical Services, Center for Breastfeeding, Lactation Services, JSUMC.  “We are committed to implementing evidence-based care, for everyone who comes to our medical center, to ensure that families delivering here, who intend to breastfeed, as well as those who cannot or decide not to breastfeed, are fully supported and their infant feeding choice is respected.”

“We are extremely proud to be recognized for the hard work of our team members throughout the Baby-Friendly process in receiving this exclusive designation.  Jersey Shore is one of only 13 New Jersey hospitals with this designation and the only one in Monmouth and Ocean counties,” said Vito Buccellato, MPA, LNHA, president and chief hospital executive, JSUMC.  “Our team is committed to providing the support, education and resources families need to successfully initiate breastfeeding and continue breastfeeding when they leave our care.” 

“Jersey Shore has long been a recognized leader in the care of women and newborns.  In fact, this is the third time the academic medical center has received this designation, first in 2012, again in 2017 and now in 2023,” said Kenneth N. Sable, M.D., MBA, FACEP, regional president, Southern Market, Hackensack Meridian Health.  

The academic medical center joins a growing list of more than 20,000 Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers throughout the world, 602 of which are in the United States. These facilities provide an environment that supports breastfeeding while respecting every woman’s right to make the best decision for herself and her family.

Hackensack Meridian JFK University Medical Center in Middlesex County has also received the Baby-Friendly designation from Baby-Friendly USA.  For more information about services, visit

For a physician referral, call 844-HMH-WELL.


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