CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System has proven its commitment to improving the health of newborns and infants in Northeast Texas by once again earning the Texas Ten Step Program facility designation from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

According to the press release, The Texas Ten Step Program encourages breastfeeding as the preferred method of feeding for newborns and infants. CHRISTUS St. Michael (CSM) joins a growing number of Texas birth facilities that are supporting new mothers and their decision to breastfeed.

Based on the World Health Organization (WHO)/ UNICEF’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, the 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 such as the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Breastfeeding Report Card. The goal of the Texas Ten Step Program is to have 82 percent of infants breastfeeding when discharged from the hospital.

Texas Ten Step facilities are asked to address 85 percent of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, evaluate their breastfeeding policies and maternity care practices, be designated as a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite, and educate all healthcare staff routinely with evidence-based courses.

“In health care, physicians, nurses and other caregivers use the most up-to-date, evidence-based methods to keep mothers and babies healthy and happy. Our goal is to encourage and help our new mothers by using a number of evidence-based practices for both mother and baby to have a successful experience with breastfeeding,” said Klorisa Withers, RN, BSN, IBCLC, Certified Lactation Consultant at CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System.


“There are a number of benefits to breastfeeding for both the mother and baby,” said Melissa Duncan, BSN, RNC, IBCLC, Certified Lactation Consultant at CHRISTUS St. Michael. “Studies have shown breastfeeding protects babies from infections and illnesses. Breastfed babies are less likely to develop asthma, and babies who are breastfed for at least six months are less likely to become obese.”

“Klorisa and Melissa strive to meet with every mother who is considering and/or has chosen to breastfeed her baby,” said Rebecca Barr, MSN, RNC-NIC, Manager of Newborn Nursery and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at CHRISTUS St. Michael. “We reach out to new mothers who have chosen to breastfeed after they have been discharged from the hospital to answer any questions they may have and offer support. And of course, new mothers are welcome to come to the hospital to receive help after they have been discharged.”

The Texas Ten Step program also benefits other aspects of mother-baby care in the hospital. One of the Ten Steps correlates to admissions in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Studies show that early expression of breast milk helps to establish a more robust milk supply.

“We have a goal that all staff throughout the service line help mothers of babies admitted to NICU establish breast pumping within the first six hours of admission,” said Barr. “This helps our sick babies get the benefits of breast milk that they need to help them as they grow bigger and get healthier. The NICU baby has multiple benefits associated with breast milk intake, including a reduced risk of a bowel inflammation called necrotizing enterocolitis.”

In addition, CHRISTUS St. Michael offers monthly classes to provide expectant mothers with breastfeeding tips and techniques.

“Our Associates and everyone on our team has worked very hard to earn the Texas Ten Step Program designation year after year,” said Jannice Phillips, MSN, MHA, RNC-OB, Director of and Women and Children’s Services at CHRISTUS St. Michael. “We are honored to continue our efforts alongside other select Texas hospitals in promoting breastfeeding to our new mothers.”

For more information on the breastfeeding programs and support available at CHRISTUS
St. Michael, call (903) 614-1000 or visit

For more information on the Texas Ten Step Program visit

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