Colville Hospital Receives Breastfeeding Friendly Recognition

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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 Silver recognition level from the Washington State Department of Health.

“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. “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.

Mount Carmel Hospital averages 230 births per year, with care provided by eight family practice physicians, 10 obstetrical nurses – three of which are board certified lactation consultants. Its lactation clinic is open weekdays 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

“At birth, babies are placed skin-to-skin with their mothers and typically begin their breastfeeding journey within the first hour of life,” says Raye Nichols, RN, obstetrics supervisor at Mount Carmel. &ldqou;Caregivers provide direction and support as the mother and baby begin this new journey,” she adds.

In January 2011, US 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 are:

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care 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 breast milk 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 Silver recognition level, Mount Carmel implemented steps 1, 2, 4, 7, 10, and two additional steps. Mount Carmel is training staff in the skills necessary to implement all 10 steps and obtain the Gold level.

About Providence Mount Carmel Hospital

Providence Mount Carmel Hospital is a 25-bed Critical Access hospital serving a three county area in Northeast Washington. Located in Colville, the hospital offers advanced medical and surgical care as well as specialty support and outpatient services. Our maternity suites that rival those found in urban hospitals and diagnostic imaging services feature technology normally not available in rural hospitals. And our physicians represent a variety of specialties, including cardiology, gynecology, obstetrics and more. As part of Providence Health Care, Mount Carmel Hospital is one of 11 ministries in Eastern Washington, who together provide our region with a full continuum of medical care services. These range from health and skilled nursing care to the region’s most advanced hospital referral center and a world-class children’s hospital.

The Department of Health’s website has more information about Breastfeeding Friendly Washington ( and the Healthiest Next Generation Initiative (