Lawrence Memorial recognized as High 5 for Mom & Baby Hospital

Lawrence Memorial Hospital has enhanced its maternity care based on the proven health benefits associated with breastfeeding, and became the first hospital to qualify for the “High 5 for Mom & Baby” recognition. The High 5 program -- initiated, funded, and provided at no charge to Kansas hospitals by the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund -- is based on five key hospital practices crucial for a successful breastfeeding experience. The Director of Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s Family Birthing Center, Traci Hoopingarner, coordinated the High 5 education process and guided the staff in making the changes necessary to meet High 5 standards. She will be presented an award by High 5 Program Coordinator Gwen Whittit Wednesday, November 20, at 9:00 a.m. The brief ceremony will be in conjunction with the monthly meeting of the Board of Trustees.
Whittit and High 5 educator Libby Rosen, PhD, conducted two on-site education classes at the Lawrence hospital in which 23 staff attended. The presentation was recorded so an additional 47 hospital nurses could also receive the education.      Research indicates a link between not breastfeeding and increased health risks for a baby -- including high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, leukemia, and sudden infant death syndrome. Studies also show a definite correlation to childhood and adolescent obesity for those who were not breastfed.      Mothers also derive health benefits -- decreased incidence of premenopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and type 2 diabetes.      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.

     High 5 for Mom & Baby was developed by the Hutchinson-based Health Fund to encourage Kansas hospitals to embrace an approach to care that supports breastfeeding. More information about the program is available at High5Kansas.org.

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