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Unity Hospital bolsters breastfeeding rates

Breastfeeding is proven to provide exceptional nutrition and immunological benefits, and is one of the most powerful impediments to infant morbidity. In October 2018, Unity Hospital (of Rochester Regional Health) created a program to increase its breastfeeding initiation rate to improve prenatal and postnatal care and outcomes.

The hospital’s breastfeeding initiation rate was 79% in 2018, below the Healthy People 2020 goal of 81.9% and the Baby Friendly goal of 80%. As a result, staff formed a multidisciplinary task force to implement Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, aiming to meet or exceed their breastfeeding initiation goal of 80% and achieve Baby Friendly designation in 2019.

During the project, staff:

  • conducted a gap analysis;
  • formed a governance structure, including a project leadership steering committee and a prenatal practice workgroup (Continuity of Care Subcommittee);
  • conducted quality improvement “Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control” workshops to, as a team, identify the biggest challenges and create and implement interventions; and
  • agreed on the following measures for success: breastfeeding initiation rates, patient education results and third trimester breastfeeding visits.

The hospital increased breastfeeding initiation rates by 9.14% between October 2018 and December 2019 and created a standard prenatal patient breastfeeding education program to be used across all Unity prenatal practices. The hospital achieved Baby Friendly designation in 2019.

For more information, contact Caitlin Dwyer, RN, BSN, SAFE, nurse manager, at 585.922.5564 or caitlin.dwyer@rochesterregional.org.