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New Hampshire Ranks #1 in Newly Released Breastfeeding Survey Results
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Maternal and Child Health
Publish Date:
April 3, 2013

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is pleased to announce that the recently released 2011 Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) Survey results from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranks New Hampshire as #1 for the fifth straight year in perinatal care. The survey results describe specific opportunities for hospitals and birth centers in New Hampshire to more successfully meet national quality of care standards for perinatal care and breastfeeding support.

The positive survey results are due largely to the efforts of the New Hampshire Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding Program. This is a statewide quality improvement (QI) health care initiative made up of New Hampshire physicians and healthcare professionals that aims to increase the level of breastfeeding support provided to new mothers and their infants throughout the state of New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Ten Steps program has led two statewide learning collaborative workshops on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Almost all New Hampshire birthing hospitals have been involved in the collaborative to date; 4 of New Hampshire’s 21 birthing hospitals are currently Baby Friendly designated and others are actively working on this process.

New Hampshire’s Ten Steps Program is led by Dr. Bonny Whalen, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Dr. Alison Holmes, Concord Hospital, and Joyce Kelly, RN, MPH, Project Coordinator, and aims to:

  • Increase the level of evidence-based breastfeeding support provided to mothers and infants.
  • Decrease the use of non-medically indicated formula supplementation during the first few days of a newborn's life.
  • Increase the rate of exclusive breastmilk feeding at newborn discharge throughout the State.

“We are excited to see the results of the 2011 mPINC survey,” said Dr. Whalen. “Many New Hampshire birthing facilities have been working very hard over the past 2 years to improve their infant nutrition and care practices with the support and help of the NH Ten Step Project.”

New Hampshire’s strengths are availability of prenatal breastfeeding instruction in prenatal classes and documentation of mother’s feeding decision, with staff consistently asking and recording infant feeding decisions. Even with the #1 ranking by the CDC mPINC survey, New Hampshire still has work to do, particularly in areas such as inclusion of model breastfeeding policy elements and use of combined mother–baby postpartum care. The national breastfeeding goals and benchmarks set by the U.S. Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, Healthy People 2020 and the Joint Commission provide the ultimate targets for public health work. Successful breastfeeding begins with the support of families, healthcare providers, employers, and communities.

“Breastfeeding provides many health benefits to the mother and baby that last a lifetime,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “So it is important that we continue to partner with healthcare providers, community organizations, and families to provide breastfeeding support right from the start.”

DHHS’ Division of Public Health Services has multiple initiatives and programs focused on supporting, protecting, and promoting breastfeeding for New Hampshire’s most vulnerable families. These programs include the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program, WIC’s Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Program, Maternal and Child Health programs, and the Obesity Prevention Program.

For more information on breastfeeding initiatives in New Hampshire, visit the DHHS website at and the New Hampshire Breastfeeding Task Force at For more information on the NH Ten Steps project please contact Dr. Bonny Whalen
at (603) 653-6081.

The mPINC Survey results is one of the topics DHHS is focusing on this week in recognition of National Public Health Week; for more information go to

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New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
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