Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community Designation

Objectives of Designation:

  • Help make breastfeeding the norm within the community so and help improve the health trajectory for future generations.
  • Enhance breastfeeding education and support at the local level.
  • Send the message that our community respects the breastfeeding family’s desire to breastfeed.
  • Help recognize the health benefits of breastfeeding for Mom and baby.
  • Enhance the efforts of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Designations at Memorial and SJRM
  • Raise awareness that exclusive breastfeeding is the “Great Equalizer” toward cancelling the health disparities regardless of poverty level.
  • Attract young families of all races and ethnicities to our community.

-There are four cities currently with the BFFC Designation: Carrboro, NC/ Chapel Hill, NC/ Durham, NC

Why it matters: St. Joseph County has one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the state and it is higher than the national rate. A significant percentage of the IMR in the county can be reduced with breastfeeding as it reduces the risk of SIDS and respiratory infections in infants.

Infant Mortality Rate (IMR)

St. Joseph County 7.5 deaths/ 1,000 births

-IMR for black infants is 4 times the rate for white infants

Indiana 7.2 deaths/ 1,000 births

U.S. 5.9 deaths/ 1,000 births

-IMR for black infants is 2.5 times the rate for white infants

How are Moms currently affected:

While our breastfeeding initiation rates are relatively good there is a significant drop off when a Mom returns to work. Reasons vary from:

  • Not having employer support possibly due to not being aware of the state and federal breastfeeding laws
  • Lack of education/training of daycare staff of breastmilk storage, paced bottle feeding, etc. resulting in Mom second guessing her supply
  • Not having access to a breast pump
  • Lack of family/friend support

Breastmilk is dose-dependent, meaning the longer one breastfeeds the more benefits one has for both Mom and baby.

With this in mind we want to provide education as to why breastfeeding is so important and explain to those unware that it is an option. We acknowledge that breastfeeding is not “one-size fits all”. The opportunity to plant the seed that it can be tailored to a family is critical increasing our breastfeeding duration rates particularly with our Black Mothers. “If you don’t know all of your choices, you don’t have any.” We have the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative currently at Memorial and SJRM that provides an insulated, accepting Breastfeeding environment to Mom and baby. The BFFC Designation would extend that layer of support out into the community.

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