Helping Moms and Babies Succeed

CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-South earns the prestigious Texas Ten Step Nod for Breastfeeding Support.

By: Steven Alford

Growing evidence supports breastfeeding as critical to the health of both mothers and their babies. Breastfeeding is now known to reduce the risk of allergic reactions, asthma, infections and stomach problems in babies, and to protect mom against cancer and diabetes.

As the number of women who embrace the health benefits of breastfeeding continues to rise, CHRISTUS Spohn remains committed to supporting and encouraging a mother’s decision to breastfeed. That’s why the health system is honored to again have a Texas Ten Step designated facility, CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-South, which has taken the lead in offering exemplary care to breastfeeding moms in the Coastal Bend.

“We are excited about this acknowledgment and remain committed to serving our community every day to ensure healthy, happy families,” said Chief Nursing Officer Lisa Cox of CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-South.

The Texas Ten Step Program, developed by the Texas Hospital Association (THA) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), encourages birthing centers to support and promote breastfeeding through policy development, maternity care practices and resources for breastfeeding mothers.

Breastfeeding is considered one of the most effective preventive health measures for infants and mothers, but only 21.3 percent of Texas mothers exclusively breastfeed for six months – the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation. To help reverse this trend, 33 hospitals in southern, central and western Texas have joined a five-year quality improvement project aimed at developing facility environments that support a mother’s choice to breastfeed.

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The Texas Ten Step effort is being led by National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) and is funded by DSHS and the Texas Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

“Although so many women want to breastfeed their infants, too few women succeed,” said Nurse Jennifer Ustianov, senior educator at the NICHQ. “This project has been helping hospitals give mothers and their infants a greater chance at success.”

To acquire the Texas Ten Step designations, CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-South must promote healthy outcomes for newborns by training all maternity staff and offering them annual updates. In addition, associates must provide moms with resources for continued care after discharge.

Texas Ten Step facilities like CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-South provide continuing resources for breastfeeding families that include:

• Telephone counseling by a lactation consultant or a certified breastfeeding educator
• Assistance in the hospital by a lactation consultant or a certified breastfeeding educator
• Rental or purchase of high-quality electric breast pumps
• Availability of breastfeeding-related equipment and nursing bras for purchase
• WIC nutrition services information
• Health benefits

Growing evidence supports breastfeeding as critical to the health of both mothers and babies.

Good for moms:
• Saves money in formula and health care costs
• Burns up to 600 calories a day
• Releases helpful hormones to relax mom
• Protects mom against cancer and diabetes

Good for babies:
• Reduces the risk of allergic reactions, asthma, infections and stomach problems
• Reduces risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
• Promotes healthy growth and brain development
• Reduces risk of obesity and diabetes

For more information about CHRISTUS Spohn birthing programs, visit www.christusspohn.org/birthingservices.

Photos courtesy of Christus Spohn

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