Newport Hospital Among a Group of Hospitals in Rhode Island to Rank Third Nationwide for Support of Breastfeeding

February 2, 2015

Only hospital in Rhode Island to be named "Top Performer" by The Joint Commission and to also hold both Magnet and Baby Friendly designations 

mother and infantA national survey by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has ranked Rhode Island third in the nation for hospital practices related to breastfeeding. Conducted every two years, the Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) survey by the CDC evaluates maternity care practices and policies. Newport Hospital was among Rhode Island’s five other birthing hospitals to participate in the 2013 survey, which showed the state attained an overall score of 86 out of 100.  

“It’s exciting to receive this national distinction for the support that we provide new moms and babies during the breastfeeding process,” said Crista F. Durand, president of Newport Hospital. “It comes at an exciting time, as we have been concentrating renewed energy and resources on our birthing center, which carries the prestigious Baby Friendly designation from the World Health Organization and UNICEF, and our OB/GYN program. Efforts have ranged from adding a new midwife and OB/GYN physicians – to renovating our birthing center space to provide a warm, welcoming, state-of-the-art environment for new moms, dads, babies and our dedicated, expert staff.”

Started in 2007, the mPINC survey is a national survey of maternity care practices and policies administered to all hospitals and birth centers with registered maternity beds in the U.S. and Territories. It assesses infant feeding care practices, policies and staffing expectations in maternal care settings. Rhode Island’s strengths include providing breastfeeding advice and counseling and the availability of instruction on prenatal breastfeeding.

According to The Office of Women’s Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, infants who are breastfed are given a healthy start that will last a lifetime. “They are at lower risk for asthma, obesity, type 2 diabetes and SIDS – and babies who are breastfed have fewer sick visits and are hospitalized less often,” said Mary Lovegreen, BSN, RNC, IBCLC, a clinical nurse and board-certified lactation consultant in the Noreen Stonor Drexel Birthing Center at Newport Hospital.

Mothers who breastfeed show fewer incidences of type 2 diabetes, and breast and ovarian cancer, as well as postpartum depression, Lovegreen added. Breastfeeding not only supports healthy outcomes, but also plays a key role in mother-baby bonding – and physical contact is important to newborns because it can help them feel more secure, warm and comforted. All of these advantages to breastfeeding cost little or nothing to the family, but patient education must begin prior to birth.

Newport Hospital holds prenatal breastfeeding classes for expecting couples on the second Tuesday of each month to educate participants about the art of breastfeeding. On Thursdays, the hospital conducts a weekly breastfeeding support group for moms to talk to and learn from other moms. In cases where a mother can’t breastfeed, hospital staff collaborates across disciplines to provide the best care possible and help her understand her options.

“The Noreen Stonor Drexel Birthing Center is the beating heart of our hospital,” Durand said, “where new lives begin and new families are created – and we are deeply committed to providing new moms and babies in our community with the highest quality care possible.”