NEWTON, Kan., (March 16, 2022) — NMC Health’s Family Birthing Center has continued its commitment to infant and maternal health by earning recognition through High 5 for Mom & Baby, a program developed by the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration rates in Kansas.

High 5 for Mom & Baby provides resources and a framework to help Kansas hospitals and birthing centers implement evidence-based practices proven to support successful breastfeeding, improving maternal and infant health outcomes while also reducing racial and ethnic health disparities.

To obtain High 5 for Mom & Baby recognition, each facility is asked to complete a voluntary and self-reported evaluation and to follow at least five of the ten evidence-based practices:

  1. Facility will have a written maternity care and infant feeding policy that addresses all ten High 5 for Mom & Baby practices supporting breastfeeding
  2. Facility will maintain staff competency in lactation support
  3. All pregnant women will receive information and instruction on breastfeeding
  4. Assure immediate and sustained skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby after birth
  5. All families will receive individualized infant feeding counseling
  6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk unless medically indicated
  7. Practice “rooming in” – allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day
  8. Families will be encouraged to feed their babies when the baby exhibits feeding cues, regardless of feeding methods
  9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants
  10. Provide mothers options for breastfeeding support in the community (such as a telephone number, walk-in clinic information, support groups, etc.) upon discharge

“Breastfeeding plays a crucial role in the overall health of babies and mothers,” stated Katie Schoenhoff, Director of Programs at the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund. “Following the High 5 for Mom & Baby practices demonstrates NMC Health’s commitment to infant and maternal health by helping moms successfully initiate and maintain breastfeeding.”

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), 60% of mothers stopped breastfeeding sooner than they planned. Some factors that influence how long or if a baby is breastfed include: hospital practices, education and encouragement, policies or support in the workplace, and access to community support–which is why High 5 for Mom & Baby facilities are committed to helping women breastfeed successfully, through staff trained in breastfeeding best practices and policies to help mothers meet their breastfeeding goals.

Along with the recognition of being named a High 5 for Mom & Baby facility, NMC Health’s Family Birthing Center also receives ongoing education and training opportunities, support and resources through a community of delivery centers, and scholarship opportunities to further staff education.

“Breastfeeding provides numerous health benefits for both infants and mothers, and we’re honored to receive this recognition from the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund for our efforts to support successful breastfeeding initiation and maintenance. As a facility committed to providing the very highest quality of care, we have found the High 5 practices and resources to not only improve health outcomes but also increase patient satisfaction,” said NMC Health’s Chief Clinical Officer Heather Porter.

For more information on High 5 for Mom & Baby, contact Cara Gerhardt, Program Coordinator: coordinator@high5kansas.org or visit the website at https://www.high5kansas.org/.

About NMC Health

NMC Health is an award-winning, nonprofit medical care system focused on improving health throughout Newton, Kan., Harvey, Sedgwick and surrounding counties. Featuring a 99-bed hospital located at the intersection of I-135 and Highway 50, and 10 primary care and specialty clinics, NMC Health’s services and specialties include emergency medicine, surgical services, rehabilitation, occupational medicine, home health and more. For more information, call 316-283-2700 or visit mynmchealth.org.

About the United Methodist Healthy Ministry Fund The United Methodist Health Ministry Fund (Health Fund) is a statewide health foundation that facilitates conversation and action to improve the health and wholeness of Kansans—especially those in rural and under-served communities. Through funding programs and ideas, providing hands-on expertise, and convening influencers, the Health Fund advances innovative solutions to improve Kansans’ health for generations to come. Located in Hutchinson, Kansas, the Health Fund has provided more than $75 million in grants and program support since its inception in 1986.