(KUTV) The Utah Department of Health is encouraging baby-friendly hospital policies with their “Stepping Up for Utah Babies” program. It includes 10-steps aimed at promoting breastfeeding:
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all healthcare staff.
- Train all healthcare staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
- Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
- Give infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
- Practice rooming-in-allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
- Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.
Intermountain’s Riverton Hospital is currently focusing on two of these areas. First, is to initiate breastfeeding within one hour after birth.
“As soon as baby is born they put your baby on your chest and they want you to stay for a whole hour doing skin-to-skin with that baby,” says Alicia Mooy, Lactation Specialist at Intermountain Riverton Hospital.
Long-term breastfeeding is much more successful if feeding takes place during that first hour. The second are of focus involves 24-hour rooming-in where the baby actually stays in mom’s room.
“It is so much easier to see if your baby is hungry if you’re with them. If your baby is in the other room, you don’t know they’re hungry until they’re back crying and that’s a late feeding cue,” says Mooy.
For Mary Leonard, breastfeeding difficulties were unexpected because she had already nursed her first baby for 18-months. As a second-time mom, she thought she already knew how to breastfeed.
“I totally forgot how to hold them right. I forgot that they needed to be in a certain position and I just thought, ‘Oh I can do this on my own,” says Mary.
She isn’t alone. Many second, third, even fourth-time moms forget what it’s like nursing a newborn and have to be reminded that this baby still has to learn how to eat. For Mary, getting help was key. She worked with specialists on positioning, posture, and securing a good latch.
“I was having trouble getting him to open his mouth. She taught me how to put him on correctly so he can open wide and then latch on,” says Mary.
Mary says the help she received has been crucial to her breastfeeding success.
“If I hadn’t gotten help, I don’t know, it would have been really hard to continue. With help you don’t have to quit,” says Mary.