Hospital support for breastfeeding has improved since 2007, both across the nation and here in Arizona, according to a recent Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In terms of hospitals implementing more than six of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, Arizona has gone from less than one in five in 2007 to almost half in 2013. These 10 steps are part of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

The Arizona Department of Health Services uses data from CDC national surveys to identify strategies that support breastfeeding. Take a look at the information from Arizona’s hospitals in the Arizona WIC Program Goals and Objectives for 2016 on pages 6-7.

Five Indian Health Service hospitals in Arizona have been designated as Baby Friendly. Other hospitals have been trained by ADHS staff on implementing the five most impactful and achievable Baby Friendly steps. ADHS has also conducted training for WIC, the WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Program, Home Visiting Programs, as well as child care facilities through the ADHS Empower Program.

We know that 80 percent of babies born in the U.S. start out breastfeeding, but six in 10 mothers stop breastfeeding earlier than they intend. Here at ADHS, we are committed to taking the steps CDC has identified as important in supporting breastfeeding, including helping hospitals implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and assisting mothers in connecting with community programs like WIC and the ADHS 24-Hour Breastfeeding Hotline at 1-800-833-4642. The ADHS Breastfeeding Program offers excellent resources for hospitals, doctors, mothers, employers and more as we work together to support breastfeeding mothers and their babies.