5 Resources to Use and Share this National Breastfeeding Month

Posted August 16, 2016 by Josh Grant

Doctor Smiling
Successful breastfeeding depends on supportive environments for new moms.
This is one of a series of posts for National Breastfeeding Month about improving support for breastfeeding moms.   
While breastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive health measures for infants and mothers, exclusive breastfeeding rates are low in the U.S. Hospitals, birthing facilities and communities can be critical in helping support mothers who choose to breastfeed. 

National Breastfeeding Month in August is an opportunity to call attention to healthcare system improvements, such has hospitals implementing the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, which can improve breastfeeding support for every mom, and ultimately positively impact the health of babies and mothers. NICHQ is currently working with birthing facilities in New York and Texas to reduce pacifier use, standardize and spread breastfeeding education, encourage more skin-to-skin contact after birth, reduce separation of mother and infant, and more—all of which are evidence-based methods for supporting mothers who choose to breastfeed.

To help advance breastfeeding awareness, we’ve compiled resources for healthcare practitioners showcasing how to improve breastfeeding support for families and why breastfeeding is important.

How to Increase Support
Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life helps protect a baby and mother from more than 12 known health risks. Hospitals and healthcare providers play a critical role in supporting mothers who make the decision to breastfeed. This infographic details what providers can do to create more supportive environments for new moms. 
 
Steps to Success
Created by the Texas Department of State Health Services, this 10-video series features healthcare providers sharing their strategies for successfully implementing the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. The facilities highlighted on the video are participants in the Texas Ten Step Star Achiever Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative, led by NICHQ, who also contributed to the Texas Ten Step Star Achiever Toolkit

Community-Based Clubs
The Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA) seeks to connect public health workers and community leaders and African-American moms to reduce the black-white racial breastfeeding disparity. The organization offers workshops and an annual seminar to help healthcare providers address the socio-cultural needs of African-American families while breastfeeding. 

Celebrating Progress
For 2016’s National Breastfeeding Month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reflecting on all the progress made since the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding was issued in 2011. The CDC notes that there have been some significant changes in breastfeeding care throughout the U.S., such as 72 hospitals earning Baby-Friendly designation through the NICHQ-led Best Fed Beginnings project alone. 

Looking Ahead

In addition to celebrating recent successes, the United States Breastfeeding Committee is also seeking recommendations for priority areas and implementation strategies for the next five years. Suggestions can be submitted in writing or shared during one of the USBC’s virtual meetings during National Breastfeeding Month.

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