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UPMC Hanover Earns Keystone 10 Designation for Breastfeeding Initiatives


April 18, 2024

HANOVER, Pa. — UPMC Hanover has recently been designated as a Keystone 10 facility, for implementing evidence-based maternity care practices to help improve breastfeeding care and rates, as well as improving the health of new mothers and babies.

Keystone 10, administered by the Pa. Department of Health and the Pa. Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is a quality improvement breastfeeding initiative that began in 2014. It is aimed at improving the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding for all Pennsylvania infants, mothers and families.

“Breastfeeding is important for both the mother's and baby's health,” said Amy Hursh, unit director, Maternity and Pediatrics, UPMC Hanover. “Our primary responsibility is to equip new mothers with all the necessary information to make informed decisions about feeding their baby. For the past eight years, every member of our maternity and pediatrics team has been dedicated to improving their knowledge and skills in this area. We strive to provide new moms and babies with the necessary resources to ensure a successful breastfeeding experience.”

According to Keystone 10, the World Health Organization has identified ten research-based facility practices that, when implemented, impact breastfeeding exclusivity and duration and are key to improving health outcomes for mothers and babies. Among these practices are providing education to new mothers, allowing them to stay with their new infants by “rooming in” and establishing breastfeeding support groups. Research has shown that babies born at hospitals that complete at least six steps are 13 times more likely to be breastfeeding at three months as compared to other hospitals.

“It’s an honor to receive this designation,” said Michael W. Gaskins, president, UPMC Hanover. “This is another way we’re bolstering our UPMC Magee-Womens Health services in Hanover. This Keystone 10 designation further highlights the high-quality comprehensive care we provide to our community members.”

Earning the designation required hard work from the entire maternity and pediatrics team at UPMC Hanover, including clinical staff, nonclinical staff, providers and administrators. All had to go through breastfeeding training and education to ensure the entire team could help provide a well-rounded and comprehensive experience for patients.

Some of the benefits to breastfed babies include:

  • A 50 percent reduction in the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Antibodies in breast milk help protect baby from illness
  • Lower risk of asthma and allergies
  • Children who are breastfed are less likely to be overweight or obese
  • Studies show that babies fed human milk have higher IQ's

Some of the maternal benefits include:

  • Reduction in risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer
  • Faster return to pre-pregnancy weight
  • Decreased risk of osteoporosis
  • Decreased lifetime risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes
  • A unique way to bond with your baby
  • A financial savings of $1,000 or more compared to formula feeding

UPMC Hanover joins UPMC Harrisburg, UPMC Lititz, UPMC Memorial, UPMC Carlisle, UPMC Altoona, UPMC Cole and UPMC Williamsport as UPMC hospitals having achieved the Keystone 10 designations.

UPMC Hanover has recently been designated as a Keystone 10 facility.

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Malini Mattler

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