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MCHB Supports Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding offers many health benefits to mothers, parents, babies, and society. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. They recommend that, as desired and able, breastfeeding continues for at least one year as complementary foods are introduced.

How do we support breastfeeding?

We promote comprehensive lactation services. This includes:

  • Lactation support and counseling
  • Education both for employers and people who want to breastfeed their child
  • Health and safety information
  • Breastfeeding equipment and supplies

We invest in work that:

  • Equips families to achieve healthy lifestyles
  • Promotes healthy weight among all children, including those with special health care needs
  • Helps with the initiation and duration of breastfeeding

Are breastfeeding activities integrated into MCHB initiatives?

Yes. Many programs integrate breastfeeding.

Title V MCH Block Grant

Many states support breastfeeding with their MCH Block Grant program. Breastfeeding is one of the Title V’s National Performance Measures (NPMs). By monitoring rates of breastfeeding throughout the country, we can see how population health can improve.

Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines

This investment spurs national guidelines for women’s checkups. The Women’s Preventive Services Initiative recommends comprehensive lactation support services. This includes access to counseling and education during and after pregnancy. It also includes access to breastfeeding equipment and supplies.

Healthy Start Program

The Healthy Start Supplement: Community-Based Doulas program provides doula services at the community level. As part of their work, doulas can provide lactation education and counseling to help parents start and maintain breastfeeding.

The Healthy Start Technical Assistance & Support Center (TASC) provides expertise that includes lactation resources.

Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program

Home visitors support healthy pregnancy practices, provide information on topics such as breastfeeding, and connect families to services and resources in their community like International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) and Certified Lactation Counselors (CLC).

Program grantees collect and report on the percent of infants (among mothers who enrolled in home visiting prenatally) who were breastfed any amount at six months of age.

Children’s Healthy Weight State Capacity Building Program

This work helps state Title V programs improve their knowledge, skills, and tools to successfully integrate public health nutrition. For example, the Oregon plan includes:

  • Training in culturally specific approaches to breastfeeding promotion and support for those partnering with tribal members, African American/Black and communities of color
  • Promotion and support for laws and policies for pregnant and breastfeeding people in the workforce, with a focus on those facing additional barriers

Bright Futures Program

Provides resources to healthcare providers, such as the following policy statements:

National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH)

This annual survey collects information about infant feeding practices.

What resources can maternal and child health (MCH) professionals use?

Explore and use the following resources:

The Office of Women’s Health provides resources for employers, including fact sheets by industry, videos, and the Business Case for Breastfeeding.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health provides:

The CDC provides the Breastfeeding Report Card that provides a compilation of data on breastfeeding practices and supports in all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

NIH provides a wide range of information on the topics of breastfeeding and breast milk and the Safe to Sleep®: Breastfeeding to Reduce SIDS Risk public service videos.

The FDA has Tips on How to Safely Use a Breast Pump and Store Breast Milk.

The USDA stands up the WIC Breastfeeding Support website for the public, and also contains resources MCH professionals can share with their clients.

The Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) provides a service called Mother to Baby. Through their website, access patient education and provider resources.

How does MCHB work with other federal offices?

We work with other federal agencies such as USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, and NIH’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Results of those efforts include:

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