A Five-Star Designation for St. Luke’s Birthing Center

By Lori Swanson, Director of Women’s and Children’s Services

St. Luke’s has been at the forefront of breastfeeding education and support for new mothers ever since the World Health Organization and UNICEF first determined that the promotion of breastfeeding could play a major role in reducing infant mortality around the world in 1981. And now the State of Minnesota is recognizing us for our leadership and innovation.

After a multi-year process involving extensive education, training, hands-on skill assessments and site visits from the Minnesota Department of Health, St. Luke’s was designated an official baby-friendly facility in July of 2017.

And now, St. Luke’s is proud to announce we’ve received the prestigious Minnesota Baby-Friendly Maternity Center Five-Star Designation. This certification rewards maternity centers in Minnesota that have successfully implemented the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding as defined by the World Health Organization.

But what does this mean for our patients? Well, quite a lot:

  • New moms in our facilities get a more consistent message about breastfeeding. That’s crucial, as the experience of childbirth and becoming a new parent can be stressful and exhausting. By providing them with a consistent, reassuring message, our patients have better breastfeeding results and a more relaxed, more joyful experience.
  • A five-star rating is about more than awards. It’s about making things better for our patients. For instance, our staffing model means the same nurse takes care of both mom and baby.
  • Our staff have each undergone over twenty hours of education and hands-on competency verification to ensure a high-level of care across our entire birthing center.
  • This effort led to the creation of our own breastfeeding support group, available to all of our new mothers.
  • We have a lactation specialist on-site every day for a full eight-hour shift, whose sole job is to work with new mothers on breastfeeding techniques to keep the experience joyful and relaxed.


The Minnesota Baby-Friendly Maternity Center Five-Star Designation is considered to be the gold-standard of maternity care throughout the world. St. Luke’s is proud to continue our legacy of being at the forefront of care for our region’s families.

St. Luke’s Birthing Center is located in Duluth, MN, with St. Luke’s clinics in the surrounding region, including Superior, WI. To schedule a tour of St. Luke’s Birthing Center, call 218.249.5605.


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