Mercy Hospital Fort Scott 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.
Of the 62 hospitals and birth centers around the state now having made a commitment to the High 5 program, Mercy Hospital Fort Scott is the 37th to qualify for the recognition. The process, under the auspices of the hospital’s Kayla Tinsley, RN, BSN, began in August, 2016, when the educator for the High 5 program, Libby Rosen, PhD, RN, IBCLC, conducted on-site education classes at the hospital. A total of ten staff and interested community members attended the session.
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.