East Texas hospital designated as mother-friendly worksite

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - Released by the Shepherd Medical Center:

LONGVIEW, TX — Good Shepherd Medical Center has again been designated as a 2010-2011 Texas Ten Step Facility by the Department of State Health Services and the Texas Hospital Association. Good Shepherd also received designation as a Mother-Friendly Worksite from the Department of State Health Services. Both recognize Good Shepherd Medical Center for providing an environment that creates positive outcomes for breastfeeding families.

"We have worked very hard to earn both the Texas Ten Step and Mother-Friendly designation," said Paula Hiett, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant at Good Shepherd Medical Center. "And we are proud to be a member of these select Texas facilities that promote the healthiest outcomes for our newest Texans."

Good Shepherd has been recognized as a Texas Ten Step Facility annually since 2001. The Texas Ten Step Program was established to encourage hospitals to create an environment that supports the breastfeeding mother. Health professionals agree that breastfeeding is the first step toward a healthy life.

Good Shepherd Medical Center has implemented 10 goals or "steps," to support mothers who intend to breastfeed their infants before, during and after delivery. These practices will help the facility meet Texas Breastfeeding Initiative's goal of having 75 percent of mothers exclusively breastfeeding when they go home with their newborn. This is an essential step toward longer durations of exclusive breastfeeding after discharge.

Among the goals that a facility must maintain to acquire the Texas Ten Step designation are training staff within the first six months of employment and offering annual updates. Staff provides the mother with resources to get continued care after discharge as well. The information provided allows staff to give mothers the care that they need in order to succeed in breastfeeding.

In order to be recognized as a Mother-Friendly Worksite, a business must voluntarily have a written policy to support employed mothers by doing the following:

  • have flexible work schedules to provide time for expression of milk;
  • provide an accessible location allowing privacy;
  • provide access to a nearby clean and safe water source and a sink for washing hands and rinsing out any breast-pump equipment; and
  • provide access to hygienic storage alternatives for the mother to store her breastmilk.