Breastfeeding is one of the foundations of public health – it protects the health of the mother and the baby.  A special week like this helps people remember the benefits and encourages folks to support mothers who want to breastfeed. CDC Vital Signs Report this week talks about reducing the change of having an overweight child goes down with each month of breastfeeding.  We know that getting a good start is critical to long-term breastfeeding success.  Our Arizona Baby Steps to Success  initiative promotes maternity care practices that are proven to increase the number of mothers who exclusively breastfeed and the length of time for breastfeeding.  21 Arizona hospitals have sent their entire maternity nursing staff through this training.  Anne Whitmire and Christia Bridges-Jones, ADHS’ own International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC’s), have trained over 2500 nurses across the state in our Baby Steps program.

 Also this week, HHS announced that it will adopt the  Institute of Medicine recommendations to require new insurers provide 7 preventative health services to women without requiring a co-payment – including breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling.  ADHS has been a long time leader in modeling good work place support for breastfeeding moms through our Infant at Work program, as well as providing help to Arizona moms on a 24-hour basis through our Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Hotline (1-800-833-4642).