Regional Health pledges to welcome breastfeeding mothers
RAPID CITY, S.D. — On Monday Regional Health announced that it plans to be more proactive in promoting a welcoming environment for breastfeeding mothers.
Regional says that it will put “Breastfeeding Welcome Here” signs in the public entrances of all 48 of its health care 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 company said in a press release.
According to the South Dakota Department of Health, there are a number of benefits to breastfeeding, including a decrease in respiratory illnesses, diabetes and childhood obesity in babies. For mothers, it’s linked to a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and improved weight loss after birth.
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.
While many mothers may not feel comfortable breastfeeding in public areas, the hospital says it’s committed to creating a welcoming space and promoting the practice.