Breastfeeding is one of the most effective measures a mother can take to protect the health of her infant and herself.
The Breastfeeding-Friendly Health Departments Project has been developed by Public Health in partnership with 10 pilot sites in rural, suburban and urban Minnesota. The goal of the project is to increase the capacity of health departments to promote breastfeeding in the community and to lead by example.
10 Steps for Breastfeeding-Friendly Health Departments
The project identifies 10 key steps that local health departments can take to become breastfeeding-friendly:
- Establish a designated individual/group to lead the effort become a breastfeeding-friendly health department.
- Have a written breastfeeding policy.
- Coordinate support and promotion to establish breastfeeding as the “norm” in the community.
- Collaborate with community partners to assure access to breastfeeding classes.
- Educate the community on breastfeeding support.
- Encourage racially and ethnically diverse resources within the community.
- Support mothers in initiating and maintaining breastfeeding for up to 12 months and beyond.
- Encourage local public places to provide a breastfeeding-friendly environment.
- Select businesses each year and provide workplace lactation support training.
- Facilitate access to information and training for local childcare centers to support breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding-Friendly Health Department Toolkit
This toolkit is designed to help local health departments use evidence-based breastfeeding policies and practices to create a Breastfeeding Friendly Health Department and promote breastfeeding in the community. The toolkit outlines the ten step process and includes resources that support each step. A checklist is included to help explore, understand and take action to complete each step. Download the toolkit.
Local public health agencies and tribal health boards in Minnesota are eligible for recognition as a Breastfeeding Friendly Health Department at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels. Guidelines for recognition and the application to become a Breastfeeding-Friendly Health Department, go to the Minnesota Department of Health website.