The Kitsap Public Health District, along with Jefferson County Public Health and CHI Franciscan, played host for a Baby Brunch last Friday morning at Harrison Medical Center in Silverdale.
The brunch marked the 2o-year anniversary of the Nurse-Family Partnership program in Washington state and acknowledged Baby-Friendly Hospital designations for Harrison Medical Center and Jefferson Healthcare.
State Senator Chrstine Rolfes was the highlighted speaker at the event, along with health care and public health leaders from Kitsap and Jefferson County.
“Your efforts to empower vulnerable first-time moms and help them transform their lives and create better futures for themselves and their babies are incomparable,” Rolfes said. “The expectant fathers, the family members of these babies, and even close friends also benefit from visits that the nurse pay as they share their education, their knowledge, their tools and good practices that every single adult can benefit from.”
The Nurse-Family Partnership program provides specially-trained nurses who meet regularly with new mothers from the first trimester of their pregnancy through the first two years of their child’s life. The program is free and available to income-qualified, first-time mothers.
In 1999, Jefferson County Public Health became one of the first health agencies to offer Nurse-Family Partnership in Washington. Jefferson County partnered with KPHD in 2012, bringing the program to Kitsap County. About 480 mothers have enrolled in Nurse-Family Partnership in Jefferson and Kitsap, according to KPHD.
Harrison Medical Center also just recently achieved a “Baby Friendly” designation, an international program designed to encourage hospitals to promote breastfeeding. The initiative was created by the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund. Harrison nurses and medical staff took part in up to 20 hours of training and the hospital made revisions to its breastfeeding policy.
“The Baby-Friendly designation makes a difference to our moms, our babies, and our community. That’s where you see the real long term benefits,” Harrison Family Birth Center Director Tamara Leal said a KPHD press release. “It is wonderful for Harrison Medical Center to be recognized but the real benefit, and the reason to go through this effort, is to improve the lives of babies and everyone else in the community.”