RAPID CITY, S.D. – Regional Health has taken the pledge to be a Breastfeeding-Friendly Business and will hang a “Breastfeeding Welcome Here” window cling at public entrances in all 48 Regional Health facilities.
The pledge shows that Regional Health is willing to provide an environment where mothers can breastfeed in public spaces and enjoy a welcoming attitude from staff, management and other visitors to its healing environments. The pledge also demonstrates Regional Health’s commitment to employee health by providing breastfeeding employees the appropriate time and space necessary to express breast milk.
Breast milk is uniquely superior and perfectly designed for a baby’s nutritional and immunological needs. Breastfeeding is the foundation for improving the health and well-being of mothers and children in South Dakota. Benefits to infants include a decrease in sudden infant death syndrome, respiratory illnesses like asthma and pneumonia, diabetes and childhood obesity. Benefits to mothers include decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancer and improved weight loss after birth, according to the South Dakota Department of Health.
“The South Dakota Department of Health applauds Regional Health for being the first healthcare system in South Dakota to take the pledge systemwide! By becoming a Breastfeeding-Friendly Business, Regional Health has demonstrated its commitment to mothers, children, and families in our South Dakota communities.” said Megan Hlavacek, Healthy Foods Coordinator for the Department of Health.
"As health care providers, we at Regional Health know how important breastfeeding is for mother, baby and family," said Shanon Waldner, Director of Women and Children Services. "We have certified lactation consultants in Rapid City and Spearfish to help new mothers. All of our postpartum nurses are trained to assist with breastfeeding, and we have outpatient services available in Rapid City and Spearfish."
Although statistics show that 83.6 percent of South Dakota mothers initiate breastfeeding, the percentage drops off significantly after 6 months and again at 12 months of age. Experts recommend that babies consume nothing but breast milk until six months, then in combination with other foods at least until their first birthday.
Regional Health is an integrated health care system with a mission to make a difference in the lives of our patients and communities every day. The organization, headquartered in Rapid City, provides community-based health care covering 32 specialty areas of medicine in more than 20 communities in two states. Regional Health is composed of five hospitals, 25 clinics and more than 4,500 physicians and caregivers. Regional Health hospitals in Rapid City, Spearfish and Sturgis have been rated as four-star hospitals by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. For more information, visit regionalhealth.org.
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