20 Actions in 20 Days
Surgeon General Regina Benjamin has called on the entire nation to take 20 concrete action steps from the January 2011 Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding to support the removal of barriers to breastfeeding. The United States Breastfeeding Committee is hosting a “20 Actions in 20 Days” campaign to highlight these action steps and implementation strategies.
Action 8: Develop systems to guarantee continuity of skilled support for lactation between hospitals and health care settings in the community.
Breastfeeding classes and lactation consultants are available to pregnant women and new moms at most hospitals, but support after discharge is critical — while breastfeeding initation rates are high, duration rates tend to be lower.
The Surgeon General’s implementation strategies is to integrate follow-up support for breastfeeding needs into home- and clinic-based programs; establish partnerships for integrated and continuous follow-up care and facilitation connections to resources; and have policies and programs in place to ensure that participants in WIC have services in place before discharge from the hospital.
Post-discharge breastfeeding support in Northeast Florida
The Healthy Start program provides services to infants and families enrolled in the program. While many prenatal clients receive breastfeeding education, but many mothers of infant clients also receive breastfeeding support as part of their services. Healthy Start programs also provide referrals to outside resources, like WIC.
The Seton Center for Women & Children at St. Vincent’s Medical Center offers free breastfeeding support to the community. Services range from educational materials to registered nurses who offer telephone advice on breastfeeding. Call 904.296.5212 for more information.
Baptist Medical Center has two breastfeeding support groups open to the community:
- One group meets the third Wednesday of every month, from 3 p.m. to 4:15 p.m., at Destination Maternity, 4880 Big Island Drive, within St. Johns Town Center. The group is for mothers with babies of all ages, and can also provide support for breastfeeding mothers returning to work. Call 904.202.3229 for more information.
- A second free group is held on the fourth Wednesday of each month, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., at Baptist Medical Center South. The group meets in the Azalea Conference Room. Call 904.271.6831 for more information.
Flagler Hospital in St. Augustine holds monthly breastfeeding support group meetings at the Flagler Hospital Wellness Center, 120 Health Park Blvd. the second Thursday each month from 11:00 am – 12:30 pm.
Some local WIC programs also hold breastfeeding support classes; many WIC programs in Florida now have peer counselors who reach out to participants to offer breastfeeding assistance. Contact your local health department for more information on WIC and local services available.