DPH Supports Breastfeeding because Breastfeeding Supports Health

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It is well documented that breastfeeding has numerous benefits to both mother and child. For this reason the Department is working to both increase the number of women that choose to or initiate breastfeeding as well as reducing the barriers in the environment that cause women to stop breastfeeding before they are ready.
Through a five-year CDC 1305 grant (SHAPe) the Department is addressing three key areas to improve the breastfeeding landscape in Connecticut.
Hospitals Can Make a Difference
 Implementing Practices Supportive of Breastfeeding in Birthing Facilities

According to the CDC, a major factor in breastfeeding success is having supportive hospital maternity care practices. Along with the Connecticut Breastfeeding Coalition (CBC), and its Ten Steps Collaborative, the Department has directed its CDC 1305 grant resources to provide training and support to hospital staff on "The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding," through an interactive train-the-trainer workshop, Connecticut Birth and Beyond in May of 2014. In 2015, the Department, CBC and Southern Connecticut State University collaborated on a series of focus groups to learn about how new parents and maternity nurses felt about the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) and messages regarding evidenced based maternity care. Based on the focus group findings, a consumer awareness campaign was developed in 2016, with the tagline, Breastfeeding: It’s Worth It! to allow moms to share their own success stories around the topics of skin-to-skin contact with baby after birth, the importance of rooming-in (keeping your baby in your room in the hospital) and the value of community support. The interactive webpage will allow moms and dads to not only share their own experiences, but watch short videos of Connecticut parents talking about their breastfeeding journey. More content on the website is planned for 2017.

For more information on project’s supporting evidenced based maternity care, please contact DPH Breastfeeding Co-Coordinators Marilyn Lonczak and Pamela Beaulieu at Marilyn.Lonczak@ct.gov or Pamela.Beaulieu@ct.gov
It Takes a Community to be Successful at Breastfeeding
 Provide Access to Peer and Professional Support
At the community level, consistent messages matter. In order to achieve this, the Department is partnering with a training consultant from UConn Health Center for Public Health and Health Policy to provide staff at Federally Qualified Health Centers and various peer support networks such as Breastfeeding USA, Nurturing Families and La Leche League access to the Secrets of Baby Behavior training. The Secrets of Baby Behavior training was developed by the California WIC Program and US Davis Human Lactation Center through a USDA funded, 2009 WIC Special Projects grant. The training aims to assist health care team in providing consistent messages to parents and support people regarding Infant Cues, Crying and Sleep, with the goal of increasing exclusive breastfeeding and reducing supplementation or overfeeding of formula.
For more information about Secrets of Baby Behavior or how your FQHC or community group can apply to be trained, contact Marilyn Lonczak at Marilyn.Lonczak@ct.gov
Let’s Make it Work
 Ensuring Worksite Compliance with State and Federal Lactation Accommodation Laws.
Returning to work should not be a barrier to breastfeeding your baby. For mothers that make the decision to breastfeed, a supportive work environment can make all the difference in breastfeeding for 6 days or 6 months or more. This is why the Department supports the CBC’s Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite Program which recognizes employers that comply with both Federal and State lactation accommodation laws. And it’s not only the employee who benefits- it is a Win-Win-Win! Employer-Employee-Baby! Studies show that breastfed infants are sick less and have less medical costs than formula fed counterparts and that in general, breastfeeding mothers are absent less, more productive, and have better morale.

See the Resources section below for a sample Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite Toolkit developed by the UNCAS and Ledge Light Health Districts to provide support in their communities for working mothers interested in breastfeeding. Contact State Breastfeeding Co-Coordinator Marilyn Lonczak at Marilyn.Lonczak@ct.gov if you are interested in adapting this toolkit for your community

For more information about Connecticut’s Breastfeeding laws; the Federal laws or how your worksite can apply to be recognized as Breastfeeding Friendly; go to www.breastfeedingct.org and click on the Employment and Laws on the main menu at the top of the page.

Commissioner's Letter to Businesses Encouraging Worksite Support for Breastfeeding

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                                            Sample Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite Toolkit for Communities.

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Key Benefits of Breastfeeding
Developmental Benefits
•Develops higher IQ’s
•Improves brain and nervous system development
Emotional Benefits
 •Improves emotional development
 •Promotes special warm bonding and emotional relationship with mom
Health Benefits
•Protects against stomach upsets, ear infections, respiratory illnesses, allergies, asthma, meningitis, childhood lymphoma, Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis
•Reduces risk of childhood diabetes and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
•Increases bone density
•Reduces risk of heart disease later in life
Nutritional Benefits
•Most complete and optimal mix of nutrients and antibodies
•Keeps pace with infant’s growth and changing nutritional needs
Key Benefits to Breastfeeding Mothers
Cost Benefits
•Breastmilk is free, thus reducing or eliminating the cost of formula
•Breastfed babies are sick less, thus reducing healthcare costs to family and requiring less time off from work
Emotional Benefits
•Promotes special emotional relationship and bonding with baby
Health Benefits
•Protects against osteoporosis and hip fractures later in life
•Reduces risk of breast, ovarian and endometrial cancers and anemia
•Helps return mom’s body to it’s pre-pregnancy state faster
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