You’re having a baby! Congratulations! Now you have the task of deciding which facility you will use to bring your miracle into this world. Here at Hiawatha Community Hospital’s OB department, we are making huge strides to improve our quality of patient care for our childbearing families. We have recently implemented the High 5 program at our facility, and are striving for High 5 certification. The High 5 program outlines 5 main practices that must be implemented in the hospital while our moms and babes are in the hospital. Implementation of these practices work to ensure bonding between parents and babe, extend breastfeeding practice and success, and give parents support in the weeks following the birth of the baby.
The first High 5 Practice implemented is Immediate Skin-to-Skin contact between mom and baby immediately after birth. As long as baby is stable and transitioning well, baby will be placed on mom’s bare chest and both will be covered with a blanket. Most of the assessments and administration of medications to the baby will occur on mom’s chest. Yes!! You can even do skin-to-skin contact immediately after a cesarean section!! This is a little more complicated to achieve but we are successfully doing this in the operating room with scheduled cesarean sections. This promotes bonding, smoother transitioning of the baby from the womb, and increased breastmilk production.
The second High 5 Practice implemented is to give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk. We like to say “human milk for human babies.” We will educate our parents on allowing the baby to find the breast on his/her own without help, watch the baby for feeding cues to feed babe “on-demand.” We also teach our moms to do hand expression of colostrum during the first few days of life if baby has trouble latching on to breastfeed. If it is medically indicated, we will supplement with some formula if needed. Certain criteria must be met in order for a baby to be given formula. We love teaching moms how to breastfeed and seeing the joy of a baby latching on to the breast for the first time.
High 5 Practice number 3 is to allow babies to room in with their moms. This can occur with stable babies and moms who will remain together for 24 hours a day! Mom or dad may go with baby to the nursery for any required procedures that have to occur in the nursery. We encourage a support person to stay with mom during her hospital stay to help care for the baby during the night. This can be the father of the baby, a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, or any other loved one that the mom would like to be involved with the care of her baby. We have also implemented a quiet time policy from 1:00 PM – 3:30 PM every afternoon. This is to ensure that our moms and babies can get some much needed rest in the afternoons. Having a baby is a work-out, and our moms need some quiet time to bond with their babies.
The fourth High 5 Practice is to give no pacifiers and no artificial nipples to breastfeeding babies. We provide education to parents on the reasons why we don’t want to give our babies anything artificial to suck on. Pacifier use can impede a breastfeeding baby’s latch, and the parents can miss very important, early feeding cues. Crying is a late hunger cue!! By putting a pacifier in the baby’s mouth the parents have missed seeing those early cues to let them know that the baby is again ready to breastfeed. If supplementation is necessary, we may use a feeding system at the breast, so the baby can latch on and “breastfeed” while they are receiving the formula supplement at the same time. This keeps the baby from getting confused about how he is supposed to suckle at the breast. It can be a little overwhelming at times, but our OB staff will be right there to help and answer questions.
The final High 5 practice that we have implemented into our OB department is to give our families support after being discharged from the hospital. We will give our moms a handout with a list of all of the resources available to her for breastfeeding support. Moms can put this up on their refrigerator and have easy access to all resources. After being discharged from the hospital, we also schedule a breastfeeding follow-up appointment with our OB RNs. At these appointments we will check the baby’s vital signs, weight, assess baby’s latch and efficacy in transferring milk from breast to baby’s tummy. We will also assess mom’s breasts to make sure that they are healthy and ensure baby’s latch is correct, and do a postpartum depression evaluation. Our goal is to give our moms the best chance for continuing to breastfeed their babies past the 6 week post-partum period. Our OB staff has many years of experience and a wealth of knowledge about all things breastfeeding to share with our moms. We love helping our moms and babies bond through the art of breastfeeding. We are available 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week to help facilitate this beautiful bond between our moms and their babies.
For more information contact our OB Department! We are happy to answer all questions! 785-742-2131