CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System has taken a giant step toward improving the health of newborns and infants by once again earning the Texas Ten Step Program facility designation from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The Texas Ten Step Program encourages breastfeeding as the preferred method of feeding for newborns and infants. CHRISTUS St. Michael (CSM) joins a growing number of Texas birth facilities that are supporting new mothers and their decision to breastfeed.
Based on the World Health Organization (WHO)/ UNICEF’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, the program aims to assist birth facility’s support of breastfeeding mothers before, during and after delivery; encourages them to identify breastfeeding resources for the mother after she is discharged; and assists facilities in improving on national performance measures such as the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Breastfeeding Report Card. The goal of the Texas Ten Step Program is to have 82 percent of infants breastfeeding when discharged from the hospital.
Texas Ten Step facilities are asked to address 85 percent of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, evaluate their breastfeeding policies and maternity care practices, be designated as a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite, and educate all health care staff routinely with evidence-based courses.
“Our goal is to encourage and help our new mothers by using a number of evidence-based practices for both mother and baby to have a successful experience with breastfeeding,” said Klorisa Withers, RN, BSN, IBCLC, Certified Lactation Consultant at CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System.
“There are a number of benefits to breastfeeding for both the mother and baby,” said Melissa Duncan, RNC, BSN, IBCLC, Certified Lactation Consultant at CHRISTUS St. Michael. “Studies have shown breastfeeding protects babies from infections and illnesses. Breastfed babies are less likely to develop asthma, and babies who are breastfed for at least six months are less likely to become obese.”
“Klorisa and Melissa strive to meet with every mother who is considering and/or has chosen to breastfeed her baby,” said Rebecca Barr, MSN, RN, Manager of Newborn Nursery and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at CHRISTUS St. Michael. “New mothers who have chosen to breastfeed are contacted after they have been discharged from the hospital to answer any questions they may have and offer support. New mothers may also come to the hospital to receive help after they have been discharged from the hospital.”
In addition, CHRISTUS St. Michael offers monthly classes to provide expectant mothers with breastfeeding tips and techniques.
“Our Associates worked very hard to earn the Texas Ten Step Program designation,” said Jannice Phillips, MSN, MHA,RNC-OB, Director of and Women and Children’s Services at CHRISTUS St. Michael. “We are honored to continue our efforts alongside other select Texas hospitals in promoting breastfeeding to our new mothers.”