Spring 97 Newsletter INFACT Canada


Breastfeeding: Investing in California's Future

Dedicated to the children of California, in hopes that an increasing number of them will enjoy the many benefits of breastfeeding.

The Breastfeeding Promotion Committee of California has worked out a comprehensive set of recommendations to achieve its vision: that breastfeeding will be the norm in California for at least the first year of life and preferably longer.

Although breastfeeding rates are comparatively better in California than those reported for all US infants, they are far from optimal. Based on recent data, 74 per cent of California mothers either breastfeed or breastfeed combined with artificial baby milk supplements, at the time of hospital discharge. Routine hospital supplementation with artificial feeding remains a problem.

Data on duration rates beyond the newborn period do not exist, but some preliminary assessment data suggests that of mothers who initiated breastfeeding only 18 per cent exclusively breastfeed their infants for more than eight weeks

The apparent short duration rate suggests that while most women recognize that 'breast is best', they are not receiving adequate support in order to continue breastfeeding. The Committee has made 17 recommendations. Those considered to be of fundamental importance are:

  • Establish an office of Breastfeeding Promotion in the Department of Health Services,
  • All breastfeeding promotions must be culturally relevant to the diverse populations in California,
  • No money or goods should be accepted from the manufacturers of artificial baby milk for the implementation of the recomendations of this report.
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