Creating breastfeeding-friendly environments is good for everyone – children, parents, employers, and society. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of obesity, as well as infections and illnesses in infants, and lowers the risk of breast cancer and osteoporosis for mothers.
The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency partners with community organizations to help create and sustain breastfeeding-friendly environments.
Through the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) grant, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency works with community partners to support breastfeeding mothers within Southeastern and Mid-City San Diego.
These efforts include:
Providing a breastfeeding-friendly worksite does not only make sense for babies and moms, it also makes sense for employers. Businesses with lactation policies enjoy lower turnover rates, lower healthcare costs, less absenteeism, and higher employee productivity and morale. Additionally, treating diseases and conditions preventable by breastfeeding costs insurers at least $3.6 billion each year.
WHAT IS A BREASTFEEDING-FRIENDLY WORKSITE?
Breastfeeding-friendly worksites have programs and policies in place that support new moms returning to work. This includes:
Although nearly 92% of women initiate breastfeeding in California,
only 45% are breastfeeding exclusively at three months and the number
drops to 27% at six months. Because a childcare provider’s support for
breastfeeding significantly affects the duration a working mother can
breastfeed, access and availability of breastfeeding-friendly
childcare is a critical support system.
BARRIERS TO BREASTFEEDING-FRIENDLY CHILDCARE CENTERS
Research shows that although childcare providers typically have positive attitudes toward breastfeeding, they often lack the knowledge and training on the benefits, storage and handling of breastmilk, as well as how to create a breastfeeding-friendly environment. Inadequate access to breastfeeding-friendly childcare disproportionately impacts low-income families whose economic success is dependent on reliable childcare.
The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) previously partnered with the University of California, San Diego Center for Community Health (UCSD CCH) to provide technical assistance and resources to increase breastfeeding-friendly workplaces in San Diego County. Efforts also included working with childcare centers to increase spaces for breastfeeding/pumping, create breastfeeding-friendly policies, and assist with policy implementation and training in childcare centers. See below for more information and resources.