HOUSTON (March 20, 2015)

Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital has again received certification as a Texas Ten Step Facility by the Texas Department of State Health Services. The program encourages breastfeeding as the preferred feeding method for newborns and infants. The Texas Ten Step program aims to assist birth facility’s support of breastfeeding mothers before, during, and after delivery; encourages them to identify breastfeeding resources for the mother after she is discharged; and assists facilities in improving on national performance measures, which impacts the overall health of moms and their newborns. The goal of the Texas Ten Step Program is to have 82 percent of infants exclusively breastfeeding when discharged.

“Being a Texas Ten Step Certified Hospital recognizes the excellent breastfeeding support and nursing care that we provide to new mothers and babies.” said Nikole Keenan, R.N., B.S.N., Director of Women’s & Children’s Services at Memorial Hermann Southeast. “The certification acknowledges our commitment to support breastfeeding through our patient care practices, staff training and family education.”

According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, babies who breastfeed have a lower risk of gastroenteritis, respiratory infections, sudden infant death syndrome, obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes, allergies, asthma and lactose intolerance. Mothers also benefit from breastfeeding. The longer mothers breastfeed, the greater their protection against breast and ovarian cancer and hip fractures later in life. Recent evidence has also demonstrated an association between prolonged breastfeeding and postmenopausal risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Memorial Hermann Southeast’s Breastfeeding Encouragement Energizes Success (BEES) initiative, works to increase awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding.

“The long-term benefits of breastfeeding for both babies and mothers are undisputed,” says Barbara Kalmen, R.N.C., International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) at Memorial Hermann Southeast. “Research shows that breastfeeding has some of the most wide-reaching and positive, long-lasting effects on your baby's health and development, more than anything else you can do for your little one. As lactation specialists, our goal is to empower mothers who want to breastfeed and help them meet their goal.”

The Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic at Memorial Hermann Southeast offers high-risk obstetrical services, such as prenatal testing, genetic consultation, pre-pregnancy counseling, and specialized fetal care. Available diagnostic testing includes comprehensive and targeted fetal ultrasound, amniocentesis, fetal biophysical profile, non-stress tests, umbilical artery Doppler studies, DNA and enzyme analysis, and specialized laboratory diagnostics.

After delivery, new mothers are transferred to the hospital’s Mother-Baby Unit for couplet care, which allows mothers and newborns to remain together throughout their stay. The unit features private rooms, a highly sophisticated security monitoring system, and experienced nursing staff. In addition, Memorial Hermann Southeast is equipped to care for most infants 28 weeks and older in its Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.