“While chest/breastfeeding supports have increased in recent years, there is a clear gap in programming and services once the family leaves the hospital setting,” said Lori Tremmel Freeman
— Blueprint Highlights Community-Driven Approaches to Support Breastfeeding —
Washington, DC, October 5, 2021 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing the country’s nearly 3,000 local health departments, has partnered with the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) to launch the Continuity of Care in Breastfeeding Support: A Blueprint for Communities. The Blueprint’s strategies, case studies, and practical resources for action aim to increase local capacity to implement community-driven approaches to support chest/breastfeeding, centered on the needs of populations disproportionately impacted by structural barriers that leads to low rates of breastfeeding.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants be exclusively breastfed for about the first six months with continued breastfeeding along with introducing appropriate complementary foods for one year or longer. However, there are disparities in rates of moms providing breast milk for their of babies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fewer non-Hispanic Black infants (75.5%) are ever breastfed compared with Asian infants (92.4%), non-Hispanic White infants (85.3%) and Hispanic infants (85.0%).
Said NACCHO Chief Executive Officer and former Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) Lori Tremmel Freeman, “While chest/breastfeeding supports have increased in recent years, there is a clear gap in programming and services once the family leaves the hospital setting. This Blueprint aims to fill that gap to help communities provide comprehensive support to families no matter where they are, with a particular focus on improving equity.”
The goal of this new resource is to ensure that chest/breastfeeding support services are continuous, accessible, and coordinated, and that community spaces are consistently supportive of chest/breastfeeding families. The Blueprint is intended for any local-level organization and individual that interacts with pregnant and postpartum families, with a focus on both community level infrastructure, as well as the lactation workforce.
While strategies exist to support the initiation of chest/breastfeeding in hospital settings, few comprehensive resources exist to support families when they return home. The Blueprint, developed with a public health lens, is a clear structured program outlining evidence-based steps on how to promote, protect, and support chest/breastfeeding within community settings and environments, where the majority of the infant feeding journey takes place. The Blueprint’s strategies, case studies, and practical resources for action is centered on the needs of populations disproportionately impacted by structural barriers that leads to low rates of breastfeeding.
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation’s nearly 3,000 local health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities. For more information about NACCHO, please visit www.naccho.org.