Giving babies the best start at
Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital


Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital is committed to patient-centered care and innovations based on evidence-based medicine. We’d like to provide an update on hospital construction, the location of our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and care practices related to a Baby-Friendly designation from the Baby-Friendly USA organization.


Currently we are in the process of building the new Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. We recently opened a state-of-the-art Birth Center, and construction is ongoing for the final phases of the new hospital.

Learn more about:

Maternity Services

The Lactation Center at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital

Birth and Parent Education

Cottage Children’s Hospital

Quality Measures


When this construction is complete, Mother-Infant Care, the Birth Center and the NICU will be located next to one another on the third floor of the hospital, creating an ideal environment for providing care and support to infants and families. It is one of our major objectives in the new building design.


Throughout the rebuilding process, we have been working closely with patients and families to ensure that optimal care continues. We’ve invested in specialized transport equipment for newborns, and mothers in postpartum care who have an infant in the NICU are provided support to visit and nurture their newborn at any time.


While approximately seven percent of US births occur in hospitals holding a license for the “Baby-Friendly” designation, not all of these hospitals have an NICU. Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital is proud to offer a Level III NICU for high-risk and critically ill infants.


Our philosophy is always to be baby and mother friendly, and to provide individualized care for each patient. We are currently studying with our caregiver team and medical staff whether pursuing a “Baby-Friendly” designation license would result in improvements in patient care.


Meanwhile, we follow the principles of care that the designation promotes. We encourage breastfeeding of newborns and provide 24-hour breastfeeding support while babies are in the hospital, as well as ongoing lactation education and a free weekly breastfeeding support group for new mothers. More than 95 percent of new mothers choose to breastfeed their newborns at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. This rate exceeds both state and national averages.

We support and facilitate skin-to-skin care for newborns, based on studies that show it helps infants to maintain a healthy body temperature, heart rate and blood sugar level. During the past year we have expanded our skin-to-skin care practice to enable mothers to care for their newborns with skin-to-skin contact even while in the operating room and recovering from a C-section.


We encourage fathers to practice skin-to-skin care with their newborns as well. Rooming in with baby has never been easier for parents—our new Birth Center’s spacious private rooms include a family area with extra sleeping accommodations.


Providing the highest level of care to our patients is a responsibility we take very seriously. The welfare of our patients is at the heart of everything we do, and we are grateful for the opportunity to care for families in our community.


Herb Geary, RN

Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer

Cottage Health System