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2024 High 5 for Mom & Baby Premier Recognition Renewal

Exclusive breastfeeding offers many benefits for both babies and mothers. Newborns whose mothers breastfeed them within one hour of birth have lower risks of infection and, consequently, mortality.

Children breastfed for an extended duration have lower rates of asthma, obesity, digestive issues, and other conditions later in life. For mothers, breastfeeding reduces the risk of ovarian and breast cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and more.

Despite these benefits, only 29% of Kansas mothers exclusively breastfeed for the first six months. In comparison, 60% of U.S. mothers stop breastfeeding sooner than they planned. Many factors contribute to these rates, including hospital practices, education and encouragement, workplace policies, and access to community support. For this reason, adequate support for mothers and families is necessary to ensure proper breastfeeding.

With this in mind, Stormont Vail Health has committed to improving infant and maternal health by renewing our High 5 for Mom & Baby Premier Facility recognition at our Topeka Campus, while our Flint Hills team continues to renew its High 5 for Mom & Baby Facility recognition. This program developed by the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration rates in Kansas.

This program provides resources and a framework to help hospitals and birth facilities implement practices that support successful breastfeeding, leading to better maternal and infant health outcomes and reducing racial and ethnic health disparities.

To obtain High 5 for Mom & Baby Premier recognition, Stormont Vail must complete a voluntary, self-reported evaluation and follow 10 evidence-based practices. To receive a High 5 for Mom & Baby facility recognition, the team must follow at least five of these practices.

  1. Facility will have a written maternity care and infant feeding policy that addresses all 10 High 5 for Mom & Baby practices supporting breastfeeding
  2. Facility will maintain staff competency in lactation support
  3. All pregnant women will receive information and instruction on breastfeeding
  4. Assure immediate and sustained skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby after birth
  5. All families will receive individualized infant feeding counseling
  6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk unless medically indicated
  7. Practice “rooming in” (allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day)
  8. Families will be encouraged to feed their babies when the baby exhibits feeding cues, regardless of feeding methods
  9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants
  10. Provide mothers options for breastfeeding support in the community (such as a telephone number, walk-in clinic information, support groups, etc.) upon discharge

As a High 5 for Mom & Baby Premier facility, Stormont Vail also receives ongoing education and training opportunities, support and resources through a community of delivery centers, and scholarship opportunities to further team member education.

“Breastfeeding provides numerous health benefits for both infants and mothers, and we’re honored to receive this recognition from the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund for our efforts to support successful breastfeeding initiation and maintenance,” said Lynn Fergola, Director of Maternal Child Inpatient Services. “As a facility committed to providing the highest quality of care, we have found the High 5 practices and resources to improve health outcomes and increase patient satisfaction.”

“Implementing High 5 practices brings numerous health benefits for both mothers and infants even outside of breastfeeding,” said Nicole Graham, Nurse Manager of the Birthplace at Flint Hills Campus. “Including skin to skin contact immediately after birth and ‘rooming in’ so mom and baby can have 24 hours of together time after delivery. We’re honored to receive this recognition from the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund – our ninth year in all, being a High 5 for Mom & Baby facility.”

Congratulations to the Mother & Baby Team for achieving their respective High 5 for Mom & Baby recognition renewals! Your ongoing commitment to excellence in maternity care reassures parents preparing to breastfeed that they’ll be in the best possible hands. Most importantly, it provides numerous lifelong health benefits for our communities’ mothers and infants.

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