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Continues focus on education, evidence-based care to fully support families

Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital more than doubles exclusive breastfeeding rate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – July 30, 2013 – Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital has more than doubled the exclusive breastfeeding rate among new mothers who deliver at the hospital since joining the Tennessee Initiative for Perinatal Quality Care and National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality in 2012. 

The hospital’s exclusive breastfeeding rate was 42 percent in June 2012 and increased to 83 percent in May 2013. 

The TIPQC, funded through a state grant from the Tennessee Department of Health, aims to improve the health of infants and mothers in Tennessee by removing barriers and supporting mothers who choose to breastfeed. While barriers to successful breastfeeding exist in multiple settings, the program focuses on implementation of processes that promote and support breastfeeding in the delivery setting. 

August is National Breastfeeding Month and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that breastfeeding rates are on the rise. Breastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive health measures for infants and mothers. Nationally, breastfeeding initiation increased from 74.6 percent in 2008 to 76.9 percent in 2009, according to the CDC’s 2012 Breast Feeding Report Card. 

In Tennessee, 64.3 percent of women say they breastfed their babies, 30.8 were breastfeeding at six months and 13 percent were at 12 months. 

At Saint Thomas Midtown, the rate of babies who are supplemented with formula has decreased from 56 percent to 18 percent since July 2012. Prenatal breastfeeding education has increased by 53 percent and discharge breastfeeding support has increased by 89 percent.

Saint Thomas Midtown was also one of only two Tennessee hospitals and one of 90 in the United States, selected to participate in Best Fed Beginnings. This first-of-its-kind national effort is designed to significantly improve breastfeeding rates in states where rates are currently the lowest.  

Best Fed Beginnings seeks to dramatically increase the number of U.S. hospitals implementing a proven model for maternity services that better supports a new mother’s choice to breastfeed. The National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) is leading the effort through a cooperative funding agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and will be working closely with Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. 

Saint Thomas Midtown also offers a breastfeeding support group for new mothers. The group meets twice a month for two hours and allows new mothers to share techniques and advice. In honor of National Breastfeeding Month, grandparents are welcome to attend class in August. To sign up, visit or call 615-284-BABY (2229). 

Saint Thomas Midtown is a leader in advancing maternal and infant care, focusing on each patient’s unique birth experience. Voted the Best Place to Have a Baby 12 years in a row, Saint Thomas Midtown offers educational classes, lactation support, a team of experienced nurses, physicians and educators, an obstetric hospitalist on site 24/7, a specialized unit for those with difficult or high-risk pregnancies and a Level IIIb Beaman Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with a 24-hour in-house neonatologist. Family involvement is encouraged with a mother-baby model of care.  For more information, please visit or call 615-284-BABY (2229). 

About Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital

Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital is a member of Saint Thomas Health, Middle Tennessee’s faith-based, not-for-profit health care system united under the common mission of one healing community. With more than 7,000 associates, Saint Thomas Health is focused on transforming the health care experience and helping people live healthier lives, with special attention to the poor and vulnerable. The regional health system includes – Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital, Saint Thomas West Hospital and Saint Thomas Hospital for Spinal Surgery in Nashville, Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital in Murfreesboro and Saint Thomas Hickman Hospital in Centerville – and a comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures, medical practices, clinics and rehabilitation facilities. Saint Thomas Health is a member of Ascension Health, a Catholic organization that is the largest not-for-profit health system in the United States. For more information, please visit or


The Tennessee Initative for Perinatal Quality Care is funded by a state grant through the Department of Health, launched in October 2008. The goal of the initiative is to engage providers across the perinatal spectrum in statewide, evidence‐based and data‐driven quality improvement projects. For more information, visit


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