Logan Regional Hospital is the first healthcare facility in the state to implement all 10 steps of the Stepping Up for Utah Babies program, started by the state health department in 2014 to help new moms who want to breastfeed.
“We want to tell our community that we support breastfeeding moms and that we are taking all of the steps to provide that support,” said Margo Christensen, a board-certified lactation specialist at Logan Regional Hospital.
Breastfeeding, when possible, can provide several benefits to infants, boosting immunity, nutrition, digestion, emotional development and other factors, according to medical experts.
The 10 steps in the Stepping Up for Utah Babies program were created by the state Department of Health to mirror the steps in the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative started by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund in the 1990s.
Christensen said Utah is one of many states in the nation that has created a designation similar to the Baby Friendly Initiative for health care facilities because of the high costs associated with the international designation.
Although Logan Regional is the first hospital to complete the steps in the state designation, Nickee Palacios from the Utah health department said the University of Utah Hospital has earned the Baby Friendly designation.
Stepping Up for Utah Babies “is a pretty in-depth program and it takes a lot of work,” Palacios said. “We are very excited that Logan Regional has done such amazing work on getting all the progress they have done.”
The 10 steps in the program are designed to help hospitals better support the success of new moms in regards to breastfeeding. Steps in the program include having a written breastfeeding policy, establishing skin-to-skin contact between moms and babies shortly after birth, and limiting the use of pacifiers in hospitals.
According to Palacios, Logan Regional is leading the way for other Intermountain Healthcare facilities who are working toward this same designation.
“How they educate on the policy really stands out,” Palacios said.
Christensen is happy with the work that the hospital has accomplished so far on their breastfeeding support efforts, however, she said it isn’t the end of the road.
“This is an ongoing process and just because we’ve achieved the 10-step designation, our work is not done,” Christensen said. “We continue to implement things and we will always have ongoing education for our staff.”