Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center joins infant breastfeeding initiative
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 6:05 am

OGDENSBURG – Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center has joined 66 other hospitals in New York that provide maternity care participating in a program advocating breastfeeding for new mothers and their babies.

The state Department of Health initiative, Great Beginnings NY, The Future Starts with Breastfeeding, encourages hospitals to follow four evidence-based strategies that better support women to be successful in exclusively breastfeeding their infants:

• ensure breastfeeding infants do not receive supplementation unless medically indicated or at the request of the mother, and documented in the infant’s medical chart

• educate mothers on the impact of non-medically indicated supplementation on breastfeeding success

• discontinue the distribution of free infant formula, including discharge packs, and the provision of infant formula promotional materials

• provide all breastfeeding mothers with post-discharge lactation support and referrals.

“We are already doing many of the things recommended by the state to increase our breastfeeding rates but we can certainly do more and that will be our focus for 2014,” said Scott Parameter, RN, nurse manager of Claxton-Hepburn’s Birthing Center.

During 2012, 84 percent of new mothers in New York breastfed their newborn infants in the hospital, exceeding a Healthy People 2020 goal of 82 percent. But 52 percent of these breastfed infants were also given formula during their hospital stay, greatly exceeding the Healthy People goal of no more than 14 percent receiving formula during the first two days.

As a consequent of this formula supplementation, only 41 percent of newborn infants in New York were exclusively breastfed during their hospital stays, which is far below the Healthy People goal of at least 70 percent of newborn infants being exclusively breastfed through day two.

The implementation of the four key maternity care and infant feeding practices will better support new mothers and improve the hospital’s exclusive breastfeeding rates, according to a news release from the Ogdensburg health care facility.

For more information about Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center’s Birthing Center, visit For information on the Great Beginnings, NY program, visit the New York State Department of Health at