Breastfeeding mothers in North Dakota can more easily identify where to find support in both local hospitals and workplaces thanks to two designations developed by the North Dakota Department of Health’s Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity.
The newest designation allows North Dakota hospitals to provide crucial support to new mothers by earning a breastfeeding-friendly designation. The “North Dakota Breastfeeding-Friendly Hospital Designation” is a five-step program that has been developed from research-based best practices in hospitals to help mothers who breastfeed get off to the right start. “We are thrilled that many hospitals across the state are interested in this designation and are willing to take the right steps in supporting breastfeeding mothers from the start,” said BriAnna Wanner, Division of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Two hospitals that are the first to apply for the designation are:
- West River Health Services, Hettinger
- Sanford Health, Bismarck
“Breastfeeding is natural, but is a skill that must be learned,” said Wanner. “The first few days of life are the most crucial in predicting duration and exclusivity for breastfeeding. That is why it is important to have the right practices in place in the hospital.”
For four years, the Department of Health has given the designation of “Infant Friendly” to North Dakota businesses if they adopt a policy that supports nursing mothers in the workplace.
The following 13 North Dakota employers have been designated as infant-friendly in the last year:
- Bismarck – City of Bismarck
- Dickinson – Southwestern District Health Unit
- Emerado- Ascension Lutheran Church
- Fargo- Discovery Benefits
- Grand Forks – Altru Family YMCA, Amazing Grains, Kidney & Hypertension Center, Kidney Institute of North Dakota, Aurora Dialysis, Grand Forks Public Library, 1101 Dental, PLLC
- Northwood- Valley Community Health Centers
- Rolla- Presentation Medical Center
Businesses interested in becoming “Infant Friendly” can find resources for supporting their employees and the simple application at www.ndhealth.gov/breastfeeding.
The designation of these businesses coincides with Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s proclamation of Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1-7, 2014, in North Dakota, which mirrors the annual global celebration event that draws attention to the health impacts of breastfeeding for both babies and mothers. The theme this year is “Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal For Life.”
For more information about the infant friendly designation or Breastfeeding Week in North Dakota, contact BriAnna Wanner, North Dakota Department of Health, at 701.328.4529.