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Providence Mount Carmel recognized by Washington State Department of Health with Breastfeeding Friendly Washington Gold Award

August 17, 2017

Media Contact:

  • Providence Health & Services
    Linda Webb
    (509) 685-5481
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Colville, WA—Providence Mount Carmel Hospital has been recognized for promoting breastfeeding to help get newborns off to a healthy start. Mount Carmel Hospital recently received the Breastfeeding Friendly Washington Gold recognition level from the Washington State Department of Health.

It is the first hospital in the state to achieve all three levels of the recognition: Bronze, Silver and Gold.

“Babies are more likely to maintain a healthy weight throughout their lives if they breastfeed for at least six months,” said state Secretary of Health John Wiesman, who was in Colville today to present hospital leadership and caregivers with the award. “Hospitals that encourage and support breastfeeding are helping raise the healthiest next generation.”

In 2014, Governor Jay Inslee launched the Healthiest Next Generation Initiative to make the next generation of children the healthiest ever. The goal is to help children maintain a healthy weight, enjoy active lives, and eat well in places where they spend the most time — including early learning settings, schools, and their communities.

As part of the initiative, the Department of Health promotes and encourages breastfeeding through the new Breastfeeding Friendly Washington voluntary recognition program. Participating hospitals are recognized after completing steps to support breastfeeding. There are three different levels – Gold, Silver, and Bronze—depending on how many steps a facility completes.

Information on the recognition is posted at the facilities, on hospital webpages and on the Department of Health’s webpage. Parents-to-be and other community members can learn what local hospitals and clinics are doing to support breastfeeding.

“Providence Mount Carmel Hospital is proud to join the Governor and the Department of Health in its efforts to promote, protect and support breastfeeding in Washington,” said Ron Rehn, Providence Mount Carmel Hospital Chief Administrative Officer.

In January 2011, U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin released The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, which includes a call to “ensure that maternity care practices throughout the United States are fully supportive of breastfeeding.”

Breastfeeding Friendly Washington’s Ten Steps for Birthing Hospitals

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all healthcare staff.
  2. Train all healthcare staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Place babies skin-to-skin with their mothers for 60 minutes immediately after birth and help mothers recognize and respond to feeding cues.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they are separated from their infants.
  6. Give infants no food or drink other than breastmilk unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice rooming-in to allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand. Teach mothers cue-based feeding regardless of feeding method.
  9. Give no artificial nipples or pacifiers to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Establish a system for referring mothers to out-patient and community support.

To earn the Gold recognition level, hospitals must implement all 10 steps.

Visit Providence Mount Carmel Hospital’s webpage for more information about how they support breastfeeding.

The Department of Health’s website has more information about Breastfeeding Friendly Washington hospitals, the Healthiest Next Generation Initiative or follow on Social Media using #HealthiestNextGen.

The Department of Health website is your source for a healthy dose of information.

About Providence Mount Carmel Hospital

Providence Mount Carmel Hospital is a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital located in Colville, Washington offering emergency care, outpatient day surgery, maternity and advanced imaging services for Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille counties. It is nationally recognized for patient safety (Healthgrades Patient Safety Excellence Award – 2017, 2016), and quality (iVantage Health Analytics Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in the United States – 2017, 2016). Mount Carmel is a member of Providence Health Care in Eastern Washington—the service area of Providence Health & Services, a not-for-profit Catholic health care ministry committed to providing for the needs of the communities it serves – especially for those who are poor and vulnerable. Visit phc.org to learn more.