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 19: National Monitoring System — Develop a national monitoring system to improve the tracking of breastfeeding rates as well as the policies and environmental factors that affect breastfeeding.
The Surgeon General’s Call to Action identified major deficits relevant to breastfeeding in hospital policies and clinical practic, “including a low priority given to support for breastfeeding and education about it, inappropriate routines and provision of care, fragmented care, and inadequate hospital facilities for women who are breastfeeding.”
The United States Breastfeeding Committee recommends the following strategies:
- Enhance the CDC Breastfeeding Report Card by including a broader array of process indicators and showing trends over time.
- Collect data in all states on the initiation of breastfeeding and in-hospital supplementation with formula through the U.S. Standard Certificate of Live Birth.
- Develop systems to collect key information on policy and environmental supports for breastfeeding.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides the most comprehensive look at breastfeeding initiation and duration in the hospital.
The CDC collects annual data from all 50 states in the US with six outcome indicators to monitor breastfeeding initiation and duration. CDC’s Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) survey assesses and scores how well maternity care practices at hospitals and birth centers support breastfeeding.
These monitoring tools show that while breastfeeding rates are on the rise, there is still much room for improvement. According to the 2012 report card, in Florida only 2.93 percent of births are at baby-friendly hospitals (Northeast Florida recently got its first Baby Friendly hospital). Florida’s average mPISNC score is 69, compared to the national average of 70.
Of all breastfed infants in the state, a full 25 percent receive formula before 2 days of age.
Read more about Action 19 at the U.S. Breastfeeding Committe’s website.