Increasing the percentage of women that choose to breastfeed is a critical evidence-based practice for addressing the childhood obesity epidemic. Here in Arizona, we have a lot to celebrate during World Breastfeeding Week– because of our collective work to increase breastfeeding is paying off. Arizona’s percentage of babies who begin breastfeeding has jumped to 83% according to CDCs just released Breastfeeding Report Card… and the percentage of babies exclusively breastfed until three months old has also climbed 10% in the last 5 years.
This accomplishment demonstrates the power of working together to address the CDC – Winnable Battles including promoting nutrition and physical activity to reduce obesity. Here are just some of the places we work together to support breastfeeding families:
- Hospitals through Baby Steps for Breastfeeding Success;
- Early childcare and education programs through Empower;
- Arizona WIC Program through breastfeeding peer counseling, increasing the number of Lactation Consultants, and moving to participant-centered services for client counseling;
- Home visiting programs for families through Strong Families AZ;
- Community education with an online Baby Steps course- a self-assessment for childcare providers, and professional training;
- Arizona’s early childhood home visitors support new mothers’ desire to breastfeed during home visits;
- StrongFamiliesAz– Arizona’s alliance of early childhood home visitors, provides technical assistance and education to home visitors so they can be supportive of new mothers; and
- Arizona’s Breastfeeding Hot Line 1-800-833-4642 provides 24/7 support for breastfeeding moms.
Congratulations to the Phoenix Indian Medical Center for achieving designation as a Baby-Friendly Hospital. They’re the first AZ hospital to achieve this prestigious certification- which shows their leadership in promoting breastfeeding to reduce childhood obesity.