Innovations In State Breastfeeding Efforts

Posted : 01/09/20 in In the News

Innovations In State Breastfeeding Efforts

Posted 4 years 6 months ago

In 2014, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), with funding from CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, Overweight, and Obesity, initiated a unique project to help states improve their breastfeeding rates. Using a learning community model, ASTHO funded 18 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) to reduce breastfeeding barriers by:


(1) Increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration practices in birthing facilities.

(2) Improving access to professional and peer support for breastfeeding.

(3) Ensuring workplace compliance with the federal lactation accommodation law.


In the first three years (2014-2017) of ASTHO’s Breastfeeding Learning Community, states utilized funding to pilot or enhance system-level breastfeeding promotion strategies. The learning community aimed to build capacity and broaden or institutionalize effective approaches. All participating states in 2014-2017 received a minimum of $15,000 to fund their initiatives, and some state health departments received enhanced funding to strengthen their collaboration with their state breastfeeding coalitions. Project outcomes and summaries of lessons learned from the first three years of the learning community can be found at ASTHO’s Breastfeeding Learning Community web page. In 2017-2018, year four of the learning collaborative, seven of the original states were selected to receive innovation grants of up to $25,000 to enhance, improve, and expand on their previous strategies. This funding was designed to increase breastfeeding promotion and support at the state level by reaching an otherwise under-resourced community or population in an innovative way. Summaries of the states’ innovation projects are included below.


Breastfeeding Innovation State Projects Notable Project Outcomes


• Ohio revised the internal Department of Health breastfeeding policies and partnered to advance staff training recognition.

• Alaska supported the development of three new worksite policies, and South Dakota expanded its breastfeeding business initiative to another part of the state.

• Ohio and Louisiana helped a combined 28 birthing facilities to develop breastfeeding-friendly policies.

• Delaware surveyed and collected information on statewide community breastfeeding support efforts and created a resource guide for mothers.

• Alaska, Delaware, DC, Illinois, Louisiana, and South Dakota developed new supportive breastfeeding partnerships, including father’s groups and tailored outreach for unique geographic areas and specific populations.


The full ASTHO report can be found here: