Ransom Memorial Hospital (RMH), Ottawa, is among six Kansas sites receiving grants to facilitate attainment of Baby-Friendly designation, the gold standard of breastfeeding support for hospitals. The project is funded by the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s (KDHE) Bureau of Family Health, with support from the Title V Maternal & Child Health Block Grant. The Baby-Friendly hospital initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers offering an optimal level of care for infant feeding and bonding between mother and baby. For mothers, delivery at a Baby-Friendly hospital means they will have the information, confidence, and skills to initiate and maintain breastfeeding.
Becoming a Baby-friendly facility is a comprehensive, detailed and thorough journey toward excellence in maternity care. The grant will support RMH in implementing the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a collection of evidence-based practices shown to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration rates and a requirement for attaining Baby-Friendly designation.
As a part of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, RMH must foster the availability of breastfeeding support groups and resources for mothers after their hospital stay. Proving so as an employer, RMH has received the Gold Level “Breastfeeding Employees Support Award” from the Kansas Breast Feeding Coalition and its Business Case for Breastfeeding program.
The award is based on proven and established standards to benefit employers and employees. It recognizes businesses that provide support services to their breastfeeding employees, to include education as well as the time and space for employees to nurse and or pump breast milk at their workplace. RMH received the award for achieving a high level of support to their employees as outlined in the Coalition’s criteria.
Many breastfeeding mothers abandon breastfeeding when they return to work because they lack the support and appropriate facilities at their place of employment. Through the implementation of education and support throughout the community, RMH is striving to make sure breastfeeding mothers feel able to continue breastfeeding their child once they return to their place of employment.
“RMH recognizes the benefits of breast milk feeding for our moms, babies and community,” says Samantha Fast, BSN, RNC-OB, RMH Family Birthplace Manager. “Breaking down barriers to breast milk feeding in our workplace and community strongly aligns with our vision of being a medical community leader. RMH is striving to support breastfeeding moms from conception through their breastfeeding experience. We offer prenatal education visits and provide a support group open to all breastfeeding moms in the community.”
The United Health Ministry Fund (UHMF) is a Hutchinson-based health philanthropy serving Kansas. Since its founding in 1986, UHMF has invested more than $65 million towards improving health, healing, and wholeness in Kansas. The KDHE Bureau of Family Health is responsible for administering the Title V Maternal Child and Health (MCH) Services Block Grant for the state of Kansas. The Title V MCH program plays a key role in the provision of services in Kansas and Targets activities to improve the health of woman, infants and their families.
The Business Case for Breastfeeding is a program to assist employers in developing or enhancing support services for their breastfeeding employees. The Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition is a non-profit 501(c)3 with the mission of working collaboratively to promote and protect breastfeeding in order to improve the health of Kansas families.