Allen County Regional Hospital has qualified as a High 5 for Mom & Baby hospital for the second year, with specific maternity care procedures based on the proven health benefits associated with breastfeeding and other key elements of bonding between mother and newborn. High 5 for Mom & Baby was developed by the Hutchinson-based Health Fund

in conjunction with the Kansas Breastfeeding Workgroup.

“We’re pleased that Allen County Regional Hospital has once again been recognized for this essential program,” says Tony Thompson, FACHE, Allen County Regional Hospital chief executive officer. “Program coordinator Gwen Whittit, RN, IBCLC, and her team help initiate breastfeeding for mothers within one hour of giving birth at our hospital.”

The program’s five best practices standards include 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), among others. Studies also show a definite correlation to childhood and adolescent obesity for those who were not breastfed. In addition, mothers who breastfeed can derive health benefits like decreased incidence of premenopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer and type 2 diabetes.

More information about the High 5 for Mom & Baby program is available at www.High5Kansas.org. For more information on Allen County Regional Hospital and its comprehensive services including maternity care, visit allencountyregional.com.