UPMC Altoona received a “Keystone 10 Designation” for their work in helping new mothers and infants.
The designation was awarded to the hospital for their breastfeeding education, promotion, and support initiatives.
Alison Keating, a lactation consultant with UPMC Altoona, said it’s their job to make sure new moms have the information they need to make choices about feeding their babies.
“We know that breastfeeding and feeding of human milk is one of the best things you can do to support the health of infants, to support the health of mothers, and to support the health of our community,” Keating said.
The World Health Organization identified ten researched-based facility practices — that if hospitals implement — can create positive breastfeeding outcomes for families.
“We know babies that are breast-fed have fewer rates of infection, respiratory illness, and gastrointestinal illness. Breastfeeding reduces the rate of sudden infant death syndrome, it reduces the rate of childhood cancers, and it reduces the rate of diabetes,” Keating said.
Keating said breastfeeding also boosts women’s health, too.
“Breastfeeding reduces mom’s rate of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, post-partum depression, and most importantly, cardiac disease,” she said.
Out of 83 hospitals that started the Keystone 10 Initiative in Pennsylvania, 30 have achieved the designation, according to Stacey-Ann Okoth, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care Services at UPMC Altoona.
“This is something that our system has been working on for many, many years. This is huge for our area,” Okoth said.
The nurses say breastfeeding helps mothers experience a new bond with their new baby.
“Being able to have that ‘aha’ moment when mothers are realizing that they created this beautiful baby and not only did they create this baby but they’re able to feed this baby,”