Brookings Health System Scores 97/100 on CDC’s Infant Feeding Practices Survey

Posted: 11/21/2016

Obstetrics Nurse Lacy Maher, RN, listens to the heartbeat of newborn, Elsie, one of the twin daughters born to Stacy and Tyler Knutson of Toronto, S.D. Both Elsie and her twin sister, Evelyn, roomed-in with their mother during their stay at Brookings Health System. Rooming-in is one of the seven care dimensions measured by the CDC’s mPINC survey of infant nutrition practices. Baby-Friendly practices like rooming-in led to Brookings Health System’s recent high score on the mPINC survey.Brookings Health System scored 97 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 3% of the 2,582 facilities 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 23 points above the South Dakota average (74) and 18 points above the national average (79).

“Evidence-based research shows breastfeeding is the best feeding practice for mothers and babies alike,” said Obstetrics Director Mary Schwaegerl. “By becoming a Baby-Friendly designated hospital, we’ve implemented many supportive hospital care practices recommended by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the CDC that encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies. Our goal is to continue our Baby-Friendly status. As such, we anticipate performing well on future mPINC surveys.”

To maintain Baby-Friendly status, Brookings Health System must annually pass the Baby-Friendly Health Initiative’s quality audits, which the health system successfully passed in 2016. The Baby-Friendly audit assesses the facility on several factors, including the seven care dimensions rated by mPINC that demonstrate supportive hospital practices to encourage breastfeeding. Those care dimensions include:

  • 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 three labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum (LDRP) rooms and five 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

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at