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Obesity Prevention & Care | Breastfeeding | News | Advocacy

About Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding provides recognized health benefits for both mother and child.  Infants that are formula fed are at risk for increased incidence of numerous infectious childhood diseases, SIDS, type 1 and 2 diabetes, and childhood obesity.  For women, breastfeeding reduces the incidence of postpartum bleeding, breast and ovarian cancer, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.

The importance of breastfeeding has been acknowledged and promoted by numerous national and international physician organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends interventions during pregnancy and after birth to promote and support breastfeeding.  The Surgeon General recently released a call to action to support breastfeeding.

Illinois Physicians’ Statement on Breastfeeding

Developed and ratified by the Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, the Illinois Section of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians, the Illinois Physicians’ Statement On Breastfeeding provides guidance and evidence-based standards of care for physicians working with mothers, infants, and young children with regards to breastfeeding.

Provider Resources

Click here for clinical resources related to the support of breastfeeding.

Illinois Department of Public Health:  We Choose Health

We Choose Health is a multi-year Illinois Department of Public Health initiative to encourage and support the implementation of proactive health programs that fall under three categories: Healthy Eating and Active Living; Smoke-free Living; and Healthy and Safe Built Environment. We Choose Health has awarded 21 grantees, covering 60 counties and impacting almost 3 million people. $3.8 million goes directly to communities to implement programs that address nutrition and access to healthier foods, to increase physical activity and to promote breastfeeding; to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke in multi-unit housing complexes and outdoor places; to improve the quality of screening and treatment for high blood pressure and cholesterol; to improve communities’ built environments to increase opportunities for physical activity; and to improve the social and emotional health of students. Strategies will be targeted toward serving residents in rural counties and racial and ethnic minority groups in urban areas to reduce health disparities.  ICAAP and EverThrive (formerly the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition) are providing technical assistance to 3 grantees working with about a dozen hospitals to become Baby Friendly.

Cook County: Communities Putting Prevention to Work

ICAAP has joined the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) as a lead partner in Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW), a federally-funded initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The national initiative aims to lower obesity rates in suburban Cook County through policy, systems, and environmental change. ICAAP will be providing support, technical assistance, and training to achieve CPPW goals to reduce the risk of obesity by increasing breastfeeding rates and duration through March 2012.

ICAAP and partner objectives in the suburban Cook County CPPW include:

Implementing five or more of Baby-Friendly’s “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” at all 16 suburban Cook County hospitals that have maternity centers.*

Adding an exclusive breastfeeding measure to the Illinois Hospital Report Card.

Developing an Illinois Physician Statement on Breastfeeding and practice tools to encourage physicians to support evidence-based breastfeeding practices in hospitals and pediatric practices.

*The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, developed by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, are ten evidence-based steps to promote support for breastfeeding in maternity hospitals. More information can be found at the Baby-Friendly USA web site.

Chicago: Healthy Places

ICAAP is also a lead partner in the City of Chicago’s CPPW project, Healthy Places, a joint collaboration between the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC).  The goal of the Healthy Places breastfeeding project is for all Chicago hospitals with maternity centers to either apply for the Baby-Friendly Hospital designation or  adopt two or more of the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” by September  2012. ICAAP and its partners will provide to Chicago hospitals resources and technical assistance to implement the Ten Steps, which is also the major requirement for hospitals to attain the Baby-Friendly Hospital designation.

Hospital Breastfeeding Council of Metro Chicago

The Hospital Breastfeeding Council of Metro Chicago brings together breastfeeding champions from Suburban Cook County and City of Chicago maternity hospitals to share ideas, challenges, progress, best practices, and information regarding breastfeeding quality improvement projects and Baby-Friendly Hospital designation. The Council meets the third Tuesday of each month (from 10am – 12pm) at the University of Illinois Medical Center (UIMC) (1740 W Taylor, Room 1135). Click here for documents and information related to past meetings.

Get Involved

To join the Committee on Breastfeeding or for more information about ICAAP’s breastfeeding projects, contact:

Mary Elsner, JD
Director, Obesity Prevention Initiatives
312/733-1026, ext. 220