Coinciding with August being National Breastfeeding Month, WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital has recently been designated as a Keystone 10 facility for the importance its clinicians place every day on the nutritional and health benefits of breastfeeding.
Keystone 10, administered by the Pa. Department of Health and the Pa. Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is a quality improvement breastfeeding initiative that began in 2014. The effort is aimed at improving the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding for all Pennsylvania infants, mothers and families.
According to Keystone 10, the World Health Organization has identified 10 researched-based facility practices that when implemented, impact breastfeeding exclusivity and duration and are key to improving health outcomes for mothers and babies. Research suggests an increase in the number of the 10 steps implemented in facilities results in an increase in breastfeeding rates.
The Keystone 10 has established steps to successful breastfeeding for hospital birthing centers which include:
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
- Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant mothers 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 unrestricted breastfeeding.
- Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them upon discharge from the facility or clinic.
Some of the benefits to breastfed babies include:
- A 50 percent reduction in the risk of SIDS
- Breast milk contains antibodies that help protect baby from illness
- Lower risk of asthma and allergies
- Children who are breastfed are less likely to be overweight or obese
- Studies show that babies fed human milk have higher IQ's
Some of the maternal benefits include:
- Reduction in risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer
- Faster return to pre-pregnancy weight
- Decreased risk of osteoporosis
- Decreased lifetime risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes
- A unique way to bond with your baby
- A financial savings of $1,000 or more compared to formula feeding
"Our team really understands and embraces the importance of breastfeeding with our new moms," said Stacie Massett, nurse manager of Maternity at WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital.
"In a short time, we have increased our breastfeeding rates, begun to offer community education classes, lactation support, a breastfeeding support group, and even added a store where new moms can find a variety of breastfeeding tools and equipment."
Through the maternity team's efforts, WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital currently has a 90 percent breastfeeding initiation rate with patients, according to Keystone 10.
WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital joins WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital as WellSpan hospitals in the region that have achieved this important designation.