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Hays Medical Center recognized for maternity care

5/8/2014

ELIZABETH GOLDEN

egolden@dailynews.net

Hays Medical Center has been recognized as a High 5 for Mom & Baby hospital. HaysMed enhanced its maternity care based on the significant proven health benefits associated with breastfeeding in order to receive the recognition.

The program is provided by the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, and is based on five practices to encourage successful breastfeeding.

The five practices are:

* Assuring immediate skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby after birth.

* Giving newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk.

* Allowing mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.

* Not giving pacifiers to breast feeding infants.

* Providing mothers with options for breastfeeding support.

Jessica Seib, staff development coordinator at Hays Medical Center, first directed the staff to begin on the path toward the program in December 2013.

HaysMed is the third hospital in the state to be recognized by the High 5 program.

"We were originally planning on offering a breast feeding class in January," Seib said.

"In planning for this class, we heard about the program. We started the application process and went from there."

After beginning the path, the hospital needed to meet criteria for the five practices 80 percent of the time.

"It was mainly just changes and processes," Seib said. "It takes time to get used to. It came down to educating nurses, as well as our patients."

Seib said practicing skin-to-skin contact after every delivery was one of the most difficult adjustments.

"We didn't ever do skin-to-skin contact in the (cesarean) section room," she said. "It helps the baby get to know his or her mom from the very beginning, and establish closeness."

That will lead to better breastfeeding success, she said.

"A big part is allowing the baby to (stay on his or her mother's chest) until the first breast feeding experience," Seib said.

"It seals the bond and helps promote breast feeding long term."

Seib said it is recommended to breast feed for a minimum of six months, and the five practices aim to ensure successful breast feeding.

"The biggest takeaway would be, by having these five things from birth, they will help women breast feed longer," she said.

"I really thank the nurses and doctors for being willing to change and work toward this goal."