Brookings Health System gets high scores in infant feeding practices survey

Brookings Health System photo: Brookings Health System recently scored 98 of 100 points on the CDC’s most recent mPINC survey that rates infant feeding practices in maternity care settings.

BROOKINGS – Brookings Health System scored 98 of 100 points on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) most recent survey of Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC). The score places Brookings Health in the top 2% of the 2,045 hospitals surveyed nationwide.

The mPINC survey is a national survey of infant feeding practices in maternity care settings. Every two years, all U.S. hospitals that provide maternity services and free-standing birth centers are invited to participate. Brookings Health System scored 25 points above the South Dakota average (73) and 19 points above the national average (79).

“Our New Beginnings Birth Center team is committed to implementing evidence-based care to ensure mothers delivering in our facility who intend to breastfeed, as well as those who cannot or decide not to breastfeed, are fully supported,” said Obstetrics Director Mary Schwaegerl. “As a Baby-Friendly designated hospital, we’ve implemented many supportive hospital care practices recommended by the CDC that encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies.”

Brookings Health and all the hospitals are rated by mPINC on eight care dimensions that demonstrate supportive hospital practices to encourage breastfeeding. Those dimensions are:

• Hospital policies: written hospital policies support breastfeeding and are communicated to staff and patients.

• Staff training: required breastfeeding education, clinical training and competency verification for all maternity staff who work with breastfeeding families.

• Skin-to-skin contact: placing the newborn skin-to-skin with the mother immediately after birth, allowing uninterrupted time for breastfeeding.

• Teaching about breastfeeding: teaching mothers and babies how to breastfeed and to recognize and respond to important feeding cues.

• Early and frequent breastfeeding: helping mothers and babies start breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth, with many opportunities to practice throughout the hospital stay. Pacifiers are used only when medically indicated.

• Exclusive breastfeeding: offering supplementary feedings only in cases of rare medical complications.

• Rooming-in: encouraging mothers and babies to room together and teach families the benefits of close contact, including better quality and quantity of sleep for both and more opportunities to practice breastfeeding.

• Active follow-up after discharge: scheduling in-person breastfeeding follow-up visits for mothers and babies after they go home to check-up on breastfeeding, help resolve any feeding problems, and connect families to community breastfeeding resources.

According to the CDC, institutional changes in maternity care practices effectively increase breastfeeding initiation and duration rates. Birth facilities that have achieved designation as a part of the World Health Organization/UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), such as Brookings Health System, typically experience an increase in breastfeeding rates.

Brookings Health System’s OB unit, New Beginnings Birth Center, has eight beds consisting of five labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum (LDRP) suites and three postpartum recovery rooms. The unit provides full OB services to expectant parents and enables area residents to deliver their baby close to home with a local physician. To learn more about New Beginnings Birth Center, please visit


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