NACCHO celebrates the 2nd Anniversary of the Continuity of Care in Breastfeeding Support: A Blueprint for Communities during National Breastfeeding Month on August 24th, 2023.
Breastfeeding and Continuity of Care
Leading health organizations recommend that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life. This recommendation also encourages breastfeeding to continue for at least the first two years of life with age-appropriate accommodation for feeding.
However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most infants in the United States are not exclusively breastfed during this vital period. In fact, according to the CDC’s most recent data from the National Immunization Survey, only 58% of infants were breastfed during the first 6 months, and 25% of infants exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months. Suboptimal breastfeeding can increase the risk for short-term and long-term health outcomes, such as type 1 diabetes, obesity, and asthma. One of the drivers of suboptimal infant feeding and early breastfeeding discontinuation is gaps in the continuity of care (CoC) in lactation resources and support within communities.
To achieve CoC associated with breastfeeding support, families should receive seamless delivery of lactation resources and support, in conjunction with their healthcare. Services must be high-quality, consistent, and collaborative.
These healthcare experiences are especially critical during the first 1,000 days, which is the period from pregnancy to the second birthday of the child or children. In addition to care coordination, CoC of breastfeeding support also refers to the establishment of proactive, and supportive environments where families live, work, and play. The implementation of organizational policies and systems offers guidance for parents raising children. In combination, these systems can result in healthier outcomes for infants and toddlers.
The Blueprint Development
The goal of the CoC Blueprint is to support local-level organizations or individuals who interact with pregnant and postpartum families to ensure coordinated transitions of care and create supportive environments throughout their breastfeeding journey. This resource identifies seven recommendations through which healthcare professionals can improve local lactation support and increase local capacity to implement community-driven approaches to support chest/breastfeeding. Each recommendation of the CoC Blueprint includes several strategies and resources; and can be implemented as a stand-alone recommendation or in a unique combination with other recommendations. In alignment with continuity of care goals, this resource prioritizes the needs of populations disproportionately impacted by structural barriers, such as socioeconomic status, that contribute to lower rates of breastfeeding in communities. As a result, CoC Blueprint grantees have successfully increased chest/breastfeeding rates in their communities.
CoC Grantees and Success Stories
Since its launch, NACCHO has funded 17 local-level organizations and their community partners to implement two or more recommendations from the CoC Blueprint to advance continuity of care in their communities. View the 2023 Grantee Success Stories and 2022 Grantee Success Stories, or visit the CoC Website under Implementations.
Applications are open for the third cohort of Blueprint grantees, apply today!
The Blueprint Website
The CoC Blueprint website also serves as a national repository of community breastfeeding programs, services, stories, and resources in the CoC Resource Library. The Chest/Breastfeeding website also includes recordings of the accredited eight-part webinar series #EveryStepoftheWay through the First 1,000 Days, with sessions that focus on each of the seven recommendations of the CoC Blueprint. Continuing education credits for most of the webinars in the series are still available, along with recordings and resource guides.
Engage with us!
To receive information about the CoC Blueprint funding opportunities, please subscribe to NACCHO’s monthly newsletter using your MyNACCHO account. If you do not have a MyNACCHO account, you can sign up here.
To contribute resources and other materials to the CoC Resource Library, please contact [email protected].
Other Blueprint Accomplishments
Request for Applications (RFAs)
NACCHO will host a webinar for interested applicants on Thursday, September 21st at 1:00 pm ET to provide an overview of this funding opportunity and respond to any questions. All necessary information regarding the project and application process may be found in the Request for Application (RFA). This webinar will be recorded, shared with webinar registrants, and posted on NACCHO’s website. Register for the webinar here.