SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – The Utah Department of Health has recognized all 21 Intermountain Health hospitals in the Beehive State with labor and delivery units as breastfeeding-friendly centers with a five-star rating.
The hospitals have completed all ten steps of the department’s Stepping Up for Utah Babies program.
The state medical program recognizes those hospitals in Utah that have taken steps to promote, protect, promote and educate about breastfeeding in their facilities.
Getting a five-star rating typically takes years. The ten steps of the Stepping Up for Utah Babies program include evidence-based maternal care practices that demonstrate optimal breastfeeding support and improved care experiences and outcomes for non-breastfeeding mothers and families.
The list of five-star breastfeeding-friendly hospitals includes 21 Intermountain hospitals: Alta View in Sandy, American Fork, Bear River Valley in Tremonton, Cedar City Community, Delta Community, Fillmore Community, Garfield Memorial in Panguitch, Heber Valley, Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Layton, LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, Logan Regional, McKay-Dee in Ogden, Orem Community, Park City, Riverton, Sanpete in Mt. Pleasant, Sevier Valley in Richfield, Spanish Fork, St. George Regional and Utah Valley in Provo.
“The fact that the Utah Department of Health and Human Services has given us a five-star breastfeeding rating means our caregivers are knowledgeable, comfortable, and provide evidence-based education and valuable tools and resources to help mothers. families to feed their babies,” says Tiffany Hanson, MSN, MHA, RNC-OB, executive director of nursing, obstetrics and neonatal operations at Intermountain Health.
“Nurse managers across Intermountain hospitals are collaborating and sharing best practices to develop ideas to help strengthen breastfeeding care for new mothers,” Hanson added.
These best practices include encouraging mothers to hold their baby skin-to-skin immediately after birth; Allowing mothers and babies to stay together in the hospital 24 hours a day; Training staff to assist all new mothers with dietary choices; Encourage breastfeeding on demand; Teach your baby to become accustomed to feeding and reduce supplementation in the hospital unless medically indicated.
“We are very grateful for Intermountain Health’s commitment to the Stepping Up for Utah Babies program. All centers have made efforts to promote and support breastfeeding and their recognition is well deserved. Their work has positively impacted the lives of countless families across Utah,” said Megan Tippetts, MPH, CPH, health promotion coordinator, Maternal and Child Health Program, Utah Department of Health and Human Services.
When mothers come home with their baby, they often have additional questions about breastfeeding. You can make an appointment to receive more information about breastfeeding at an Intermountain Hospital outpatient breastfeeding clinic or through local resources.
Outpatient breastfeeding services at several Intermountain hospitals in Utah are available to all women, regardless of where they delivered their baby.
Breastfeeding mothers who want more information after returning from the hospital can check the list of community resources to schedule a visit with a certified lactation consultant in their area, or call their baby’s pediatrician or Intermountain at 801-387-4010.
Some studies have shown that breast milk is the best food for babies and that breastfeeding is associated with a lower risk of infant morbidity and mortality. Breastfeeding mothers have also been shown to have lower rates of breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and postpartum depression. For more information, visit the state medical program website.
Utah’s program is modeled on the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, which was launched in the 1990s by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund.
Intermountain Health also operates hospitals with maternity services in other states that have a similar baby-friendly designation.