Momentum is rapidly building in the grassroots movement to create communities that fully support WIC mothers’ decisions to breastfeed their babies. In late February, we released our latest Hospital Breastfeeding report, an advocacy tool that local advocates have been using very successfully for the past five years. This year’s report again demonstrates that, while many California hospitals have made impressive reforms in their infant feeding policies, a substantial group of institutions – mostly in Southern California -- still has a long way to go in implementing policies and practices that truly support breastfeeding as part of quality maternity care.
The updated Perinatal Core Measures from The Joint Commission underscore the importance of supporting exclusive breastfeeding in the hospital. Hospital Breastfeeding Consortiums which break down WIC and provider “silos” are forming across the state. Years of collaborative work in dozens of communities is getting great results: look how fast the number of Baby-Friendly hospitals in California is growing:
Improving hospital breastfeeding policies is not the only area where we are seeing dramatic progress. Thanks to federal reforms and a Call to Action from the Surgeon General, paid family leave, workplace lactation accommodation, and new healthcare funding for breastfeeding counseling and pumps could be viable options for moms who want to provide optimal feeding for their infants in the first year. WIC can play an important role in making sure these options become a reality for WIC moms.
We’re definitely on a roll. Catch the wave as we continue working towards our vision: breastfeeding is the norm in all California communities!