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All Intermountain Hospitals on Wasatch Front earn five-star rating for being breastfeeding-friendly

Layton Hospital mom and baby unit caregivers Danice Lewis, Holly Hill, Beth Hendrickson, Sam Orr and Madison Franc celebrate the hospital earning a five-star ranking from the Utah Department of Health for being a breastfeeding-friendly facility.

Layton Hospital mom and baby unit caregivers Danice Lewis, Holly Hill, Beth Hendrickson, Sam Orr and Madison Franc celebrate the hospital earning a five-star ranking from the Utah Department of Health for being a breastfeeding-friendly facility. (Intermountain Healthcare)


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SALT LAKE CITY — Layton Hospital recently joined the ranks with other Intermountain Hospitals along the Wasatch Front that, along with the University of Utah hospital, have received five-star ratings from the Utah Health Department for being breastfeeding-friendly facilities.

Utah hospitals receive this rating by completing the department's "Stepping Up for Utah Babies" program, which requires hospitals to take steps to promote, protect, educate and encourage breastfeeding at their facilities. The state health program has 10 steps created with evidence-based maternity care practices that support breastfeeding while also improving care experiences for non-breastfeeding parents and families.

According to the program's website, medical experts agree that breast milk is the best food for infants and 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.

Hospitals must have a written breastfeeding policy, train staff to support all parent feeding choices, educate parents about the benefits of breastfeeding and how to do it, encourage skin-to-skin and breastfeeding on demand, not giving any other food or drink or pacifiers to breastfed babies unless medically necessary, allow mothers and babies to remain together 24 hours a day and provide breastfeeding resources when the families leave the hospital.

Implementing all these steps and earning a five-star rating typically takes years, but, Intermountain's Layton Hospital has been open less than three years and has still achieved the high marks.

"Our mom and baby caregivers and the lactation team at Layton Hospital have worked tirelessly since the hospital opened, to achieve this designation, which signifies our caregivers are both competent and comfortable providing evidence-based education and valuable tools and resources to help families be successful in feeding their infants," said Danice Lewis, nurse manager for the mom and baby unit and neonatal intensive care unit at Layton Hospital.

Other Intermountain hospitals with the five-star rating include Alta View in Sandy, American Fork, Cedar City, Heber Valley, Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, Logan Regional, McKay-Dee in Ogden, Orem Community, Park City, Riverton, Sanpete in Mt. Pleasant, St. George Regional and Utah Valley in Provo. Nurse managers like Lewis partner together and share best practices with each other and implement ideas to help increase breastfeeding support for new moms.

"Our caregivers provide individualized care to help each mom enjoy skin-to-skin contact with their baby to help promote bonding, especially during that first golden hour after birth," said Holly Hill, nurse and lactation lead at Layton Hospital. "We teach moms how to breastfeed, hand express and/or use a breast pump, provide a community lactation resources list and talk about what to expect after they go home."

"After moms go home with their baby, they often have additional breastfeeding questions. They can make an appointment at Layton Hospital for further breastfeeding education in a dedicated outpatient lactation consultation room," added Hill.

Outpatient lactation services at the hospital are available for women, regardless of where they delivered their baby. Breastfeeding mothers needing additional help after going home can refer to the community resource list to schedule a visit with a certified lactation consultant nearby. Intermountain also has a virtual breastfeeding course for $15.

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