Pittsburg hospital qualifies for High 5 for Mom & Baby status

Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg is now a High 5 for Mom & Baby recognized facility. The hospital attained this status by integrating specific maternity care procedures based on the proven health benefits associated with breastfeeding and other key elements of bonding between mother and newborn.

The High 5 program — initiated, funded, and provided at no charge to Kansas hospitals by the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund — is founded on key practices crucial for a successful breastfeeding experience. High 5 for Mom & Baby was developed by the Hutchinson-based Health Fund in conjunction with the Kansas Breastfeeding Workgroup.

Award Presentation

Of the 62 hospitals and birth centers around the state now having made a commitment to the High 5 program, Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg is the 43rd to qualify for the recognition. The process extended over nearly four-year and was coordinated by Miranda Caskey, BSN, RN, IBCLC, RLC, the hospital’s Lactation Consultant in the Women’s Center.

One of the first steps was High 5 program educator, Libby Rosen, PhD, RN, IBCLC, conducting on-site education classes for 16 staff members at the hospital.

The High 5 program coordinator, Gwen Whittit, RN, IBCLC, will help Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg celebrate its accomplishment with an award presentation at the Pittsburg Chamber Coffee on Thursday, October 25th, at 8:00 a.m. The hospital is located at 1 Mount Carmel Way.

The Five Best Practices & Benefits

According to Whittit, the five best practices comprising the High 5 for Mom & Baby standards are: assuring immediate, sustained skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby after birth; giving newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated; allowing “rooming in” so mothers and infants can remain together 24 hours a day; not giving pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants; and providing mothers options for breastfeeding support in the community.

Research indicates a link between not breastfeeding and increased health risks for a baby including high blood pressure, type 1 and 2 diabetes, asthma, ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, leukemia, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Studies also show a definite correlation to childhood and adolescent obesity for those who were not breastfed. In addition, mothers derive health benefits. Those who breastfeed have a decreased incidence of premenopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

More information about the High 5 program is available at www.High5Kansas.org.