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New Hampshire tops in infant nutrition survey for sixth straight year

For the sixth year in a row, New Hampshire came out tops in a national ranking of infant nutrition practices.

Every other year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveys all hospitals and birth centers in the United States that provide maternity care. The most recent results showed that staff at 100
percent of facilities in New Hampshire provided breastfeeding advice and instructions to patients and included breastfeeding education as a routine element of their prenatal classes.

State officials credit the results to the New Hampshire Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding Program, a statewide initiative by physicians and other health care professionals. Led by Dr. Bonny Whalen of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Dr. Alison Holmes of Concord Hospital
and registered nurse Joyce Kelly,
the program works to provide
evidence-based breastfeeding support to mothers and infants; decrease formula use during the first few days of a newborn’s life outside of medically necessary situations; and increase the rate of mothers who feed exclusively with breast milk.

The CDC listed four areas
where the state needs to continue work:

∎ 38 percent of facilities in New Hampshire have breastfeeding policies including all components recommended by the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.

∎ 52 percent of facilities in New Hampshire have explicit policies against providing formula, water or sugar water if the mother wishes to feed exclusively with breast

∎ 52 percent of facilities in New Hampshire report that most healthy full-term infants
“room in” or remain with their mothers for at least 23 hours per day throughout the hospital stay.

∎ 67 percent of facilities in New Hampshire annually assess staff competency for breast-feeding management and support.

New Hampshire was followed in the survey result rankings by Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Oregon.

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

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