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Published on August 21, 2017

Altru Designated as a Breastfeeding-Friendly Hospital  and Infant-Friendly Workplace

Grand Forks, N.D. – Altru Health System was recognized by the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) as being a Breastfeeding-Friendly Hospital and Infant-Friendly workplace. Both programs were developed to promote breastfeeding and improve support for breastfeeding in all settings. 

Based on the national breastfeeding initiative, the NDDoH selected five evidenced-based practices that support breastfeeding mothers that hospitals must follow to be designated as a North Dakota Breastfeeding Friendly Hospital:

1. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement a breastfeeding policy.

2. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.

3. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.

4. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infant.

5. Give infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated. 

Exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life is strongly associated with better health outcomes for mother and child, both short and long term. In 2015, 60.9 percent of new moms practiced exclusive breastfeeding during their stay at Altru Hospital. That number increased to 65.4 percent in 2016, and Altru’s Family Birthing Center team aspires to reach 70 percent exclusive breastfeeding in 2017. 

The “Infant Friendly” designation was developed to encourage employers to adopt breastfeeding support policies that would help mothers establish and sustain breastfeeding when returning to work. The recommended policies include flexible break times and appropriate spaces for pumping, access to clean water for washing hands and breast pump equipment, and a place for storing breastmilk. In addition to the health benefits already mentioned for mother and child, employers who support breastfeeding in the workplace tend to see reduced turnover and sick time, as well as higher productivity and employee satisfaction. 

About Altru Health System

Altru Health System is a community-owned, integrated system with an acute care hospital, a specialty hospital, more than a dozen clinics in Grand Forks and the region, and a large home care network. It employs nearly 200 physicians and 4,000 staff and has an annual net operating revenue of more than $549 million. As the first member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, Altru’s providers have access to clinically integrated tools extending Mayo Clinic’s knowledge and expertise to patients.