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Intermountain Sevier Valley Hospital Earns Five-Star Breastfeeding Friendly Rating from Utah Department of Health

By Staff | Oct 20, 2021

Sevier Valley Hospital women and newborn caregivers pictured in photos, left to right: Kenzie Peterson, Aspen Johnson, Roxy Jolley, Julie Thornock, Trista Nielson, Deena Jones, Krysta Snow, and Kristie Timbreza.

Intermountain Sevier Valley Hospital recently received a five-star rating for being a breastfeeding friendly facility from the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) by completing all ten steps of the Stepping Up for Utah Babies program.

The state health program recognizes Utah hospitals that have taken steps to promote, protect, educate, and encourage breastfeeding in their facilities. Earning a five-star rating typically takes years.

“Our mom and baby caregivers have been working hard to earn this breastfeeding friendly rating. This signifies our caregivers are both competent and comfortable providing evidence-based education and resources to help families be successful in feeding their infants,” said Kenzie Peterson, RN, MSN, C-EFM, women and newborn nurse manager at Sevier Valley Hospital, who led the efforts to earn the designation.

“Our experience has taught us, when moms and newborns engage in early skin-to-skin contact during the “golden” first hour after birth, it greatly increases a mother’s success with breastfeeding,” she added.

The ten steps of 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 moms and 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.

“I’m so proud of our amazing team of nurses for earning this recognition. They are truly dedicated to helping new moms and mothers with previous breastfeeding struggles, by providing education and helping them build the confidence they need to be successful,” Peterson added.

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.

To find out more about Intermountain’s virtual breastfeeding course, click here. For a complete list of hospitals working toward the five-star, breastfeeding-friendly rating, visit: https://mihp.utah.gov/stepping-up-for-utah-babies


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