Educating new mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding is a priority at the Center for New Life maternity department at CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth.
St. Elizabeth’s ongoing commitment to helping all mothers give their babies the healthiest start in life through breastfeeding has once again led to a designation as a Texas Ten Step Program facility from the Texas Department of State Health Services. The Texas Ten Step Program encourages breastfeeding as the preferred method of feeding for newborns and infants.
CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth Center for New Life supports breastfeeding in several ways. With over 1,500 deliveries each year, a team of internationally certified Breastfeeding Consultants gives new mothers breastfeeding guidance and support before, during and after delivery. Eighty-five percent of those new moms begin breastfeeding; fifty-eight percent breastfeed exclusively.
From OB/GYNs to pediatricians and lactation specialists, the hospital takes a team approach to informing families about the many benefits of breastfeeding, providing a continuum of support for success. CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth has also earned the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®) Care Award for excellence in lactation care.
The hospital also supports its own employees by providing a secure environment for new mothers who are returning to work and want to continue breastfeeding, and is recognized as a Texas Mother-Friendly Work-site.
It’s all part of St. Elizabeth’s dedication to improving the health of children and the community as a whole. Numerous studies show that breastfeeding boosts babies' immune systems, breastfed babies are sick less often and their mothers and fathers miss less time at work. New mothers whose jobs offer lactation support are more likely to return to work with their current employer and report increased morale, higher job satisfaction, and better productivity.
“Breastfeeding gives babies the healthiest possible start in life, so all of us at CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth are committed to being the local leaders in promoting healthy infants through breastfeeding,” said CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth Lactation Specialist Stacie LeBlanc, RN, BSN, IBCLC. “Our OB/GYNs, Pediatricians, Maternal Child staff and Lactation Service Team Members have all played a huge role in supporting our breastfeeding families.”
St. Elizabeth earned the designation based on its breastfeeding policies, maternity care practices and ongoing breastfeeding education of all healthcare staff.
“Breastfeeding is recognized as a national health priority, so everyone at St. Elizabeth is especially proud to be on the leading edge locally in supporting and constantly improving our care of breastfeeding families,” said Paul Guidroz, MSN, RN, Chief Nursing Executive for CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System. “Acting as a breastfeeding advocate to the families we serve is another way CHRISTUS is committed to delivering the best healthcare service right here at home.”
The re-designation comes under new, more rigorous criteria adopted by the Texas Ten Step Program. Based on the World Health Organization (WHO)/ UNICEF’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, the program aims to assist birth facilities’ support of breastfeeding mothers before, during, and after delivery. The goal of the Texas Ten Step Program is to increase breastfeeding initiation rates to 82 percent.
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