Via Christi’s Program To Increase Breastfeeding/Duration Rates Earns Recognition

Pittsburg’s Ascension Via Christi Hospital

earns High 5 for Mom & Baby recognition


Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg has once again earned recognition by High 5 for Mom & Baby, a program developed by the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration rates in Kansas.

“I’m very proud of our team and the work they do to continue to promote breastfeeding for our moms and babies,” says Janelle Wade, director of Inpatient Services, which includes Women’s Health. “They understand the importance and the health benefits that breastfeeding provides newborns.”

Ascension Via Christi in Pittsburg first received High 5 recognition in 2018 and has maintained it each year since that time. High 5 for Mom & Baby provides resources and a framework to help Kansas hospitals implement 10 evidence-based practices proven to support successful breastfeeding, improve maternal and infant health outcomes and reduce racial and ethnic health disparities.

To obtain recognition, each facility must complete a voluntary and self-reported evaluation and demonstrate that it follows at least five of its 10 evidence-based practices:

  • Have a written maternity care and infant feeding policy that addresses all 10 High 5 for Mom & Baby practices supporting breastfeeding
  • Maintain staff competency in lactation support
  • Provide all expectant mothers with information and instruction on breastfeeding
  • Assure immediate and sustained skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby after birth
  • Provide all families individualized infant feeding counseling
  • Give no food or drink to newborns other than breast milk unless medically indicated
  • Allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day
  • Encourage feeding whenever the baby exhibits feeding cues, regardless of feeding methods
  • Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants
  • Provide mothers with information about community resources for breastfeeding support following their discharge from the hospital

These steps are designed to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration rates in the state of Kansas. Factors that influence how long or if a baby is breastfed include hospital practices, education and encouragement, policies or support in the workplace, and access to community support.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, six out of 10 mothers stopped breastfeeding sooner than they had planned.

“Our goal is to provide the support that mothers and babies need to be successful at breastfeeding,” says Miranda Caskey, RN, the certified lactation consultant who led the hospital’s High 5 for Mom & Baby efforts.

That support is critical, which is why Ascension Via Christi converted its lactation and childbirth education classes to virtual offerings led by a registered nurse and offer them at no cost to parents. Breastfeeding mothers also can schedule in-person follow-up appointments and weight checks with Caskey to help ensure a successful breastfeeding experience.

Learn more about Labor and Delivery or sign up for a class at Ascension Via Christi by visiting




About Ascension Via Christi


In Kansas, Ascension Via Christi operates seven hospitals and 75 other sites of care and employs nearly 6,400 associates. Across the state, Ascension Via Christi provided nearly $89 million in community benefit and care of persons living in poverty in fiscal year 2021. Serving Kansas for more than 135 years, Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. Ascension is the leading non-profit and Catholic health system in the U.S., operating more than 2,600 sites of care – including 145 hospitals and more than 40 senior living facilities – in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Visit





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