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Skagit Valley Hospital receives recognition for promoting breastfeeding

Skagit Valley Hospital has been recognized for promoting breastfeeding to help get newborns off to a healthy start and recently received the Breastfeeding Friendly Washington Bronze recognition level from the Washington State Department of Health.

Breastfeeding recognition level bronze

“Babies are more likely to maintain a healthy weight throughout their lives if they breastfeed for at least six months,” said state Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “Hospitals that encourage and support breastfeeding are helping raise the healthiest next generation.”

In 2014, Governor Jay Inslee launched the Healthiest Next Generation Initiative to make the next generation of children the healthiest ever. The goal is to help children maintain a healthy weight, enjoy active lives and eat well in places where they spend the most time — including early learning settings, schools and their communities.

As part of the initiative, the Department of Health promotes and encourages breastfeeding through the new Breastfeeding Friendly Washington voluntary recognition program. Participating hospitals are recognized after completing steps to support breastfeeding. There are three different levels of recognition – Gold, Silver and Bronze – depending on how many steps a facility completes.

Breastfeeding Friendly Washington’s Ten Steps for Birthing Hospitals are:

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all healthcare staff.
  2. Train all healthcare staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Place babies skin-to-skin with their mothers for 60 minutes immediately after birth and help mothers recognize and respond to feeding cues.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they are separated from their infants.
  6. Give infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice rooming-in to allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand. Teach mothers cue-based feeding regardless of feeding method.
  9. Give no artificial nipples or pacifiers to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Establish a system for referring mothers to out-patient and community support.

To earn the Bronze recognition level, hospitals must implement steps 1, 4, 7 and 10.

The Department of Health’s website has more information about the Healthiest Next Generation Initiative or join us at #HealthiestNextGen.