CEDAR CITY — Cedar City Hospital is in rare company when it comes to getting mothers and their infant children off to a good start.
According to a press release from Intermountain Healthcare, the hospital is one of the first two in the state to receive a five-star rating from the Utah Department of Health for being a breastfeeding-friendly facility. Cedar City and Logan Regional Hospital are the first two facilities in the state to complete all 10 steps of the Stepping Up for Utah Babies program.
“Our experience has taught us when moms and newborns engage in early skin-to-skin contact, it greatly increases a mother’s success with breastfeeding,” Caralee Lyon, women and newborn nurse manager at Cedar City Hospital said in the press release. “Currently, our breastfeeding initiation rate at our hospital averages between 92 to 95 percent,”
The 10 steps are evidence-based maternity care practices that demonstrate optimal support of breastfeeding, as well as improved care experiences and outcomes for non-breastfeeding families.
They include hospital practices such as encouraging moms to hold their new baby skin-to-skin right after delivery, allowing moms and babies to remain together 24 hours a day in the hospital, training staff to support all new moms’ feeding choices, encouraging breastfeeding on demand, reducing formula supplementation unless medically indicated and not using pacifiers for breastfeeding infants.
Intermountain Healthcare said all newly hired caregivers in the Intermountain women and newborn program complete an eight-hour breastfeeding education course, with one-hour refresher courses offered annually. Lactation consultants provide bedside support and outpatient consultations after moms go home from the hospital as well as a list of community breastfeeding resources.
The state health program website cites research that shows breast milk is the best food for infants and that breastfeeding is associated with decreased risk for infant morbidity and mortality. It’s also been shown that breastfeeding moms have lower incidences of breast and ovarian cancer, Type 2 diabetes and postpartum depression.
The state program is patterned after the international Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative started by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund in the 1990s.
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