Cedar City Hospital ‘steps it up’ for babies with 5-star breastfeeding-friendly facility

L-R: Maternity Nursing Team members Sue Staheli, Jacie Lewis, Kim Heaton and Kari Pickett, Cedar City, Utah, November 2019 | Photo courtesy of Intermountain Cedar City Hospital, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Intermountain Cedar City Hospital is one of two hospitals that are the first in Utah to receive a five-star award called “Stepping Up for Utah Babies” from the Utah Department of Health.

The award is achieved by completing all ten steps in the Stepping Up program to promote, protect, educate and encourage breastfeeding in their facilities. The other hospital to achieve this alongside Cedar City Hospital is Intermountain Logan Regional Hospital.

The ten steps included in the Stepping Up for Utah Babies program are evidence-based maternity care practices that demonstrate optimal support of breastfeeding, as well as improved care experiences and outcomes for non-breastfeeding families, according to a press release issued by the hospital.

The steps 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.

“We are very proud of our maternity nursing team here at Cedar City Hospital,” said Caralee Lyon, a nurse manager at Cedar City Hospital. “They are internationally board-certified lactation consultant nurses.  All our caregivers encourage and support mothers’ choices, including breastfeeding and alternate feeding choices. Currently, the breastfeeding initiation rate at Cedar City Hospital averages between 92 to 95 percent.”

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.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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