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Breastfeeding-Supportive Hospital Practices

Laws that support breastfeeding among maternity patients

Fact Sheet
Legal Memo
Health Care

Breastfeeding has health benefits for both mother and child—including decreased risk of infant and maternal morbidity—in addition to economic and developmental benefits. The health benefits of breastfeeding make it a leverage point for improving health equity, and the Healthy People 2020 goals provide benchmarks for rates of breastfeeding at 6 months and 12 months after the birth of a child.

For new mothers who want to breastfeed their babies, the hospital where they give birth is an important source of information and support. The 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding (10 Steps), an evidence-based standard for maternal care practices in hospitals, were formulated by Baby-Friendly USA, which is implementing the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BHFI) of the United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization.

With the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, ChangeLab Solutions has developed fact sheets on breastfeeding-supportive hospital practices in the 18 states with relevant laws. The fact sheets detail the 10 Steps, provide information on state performance against the Healthy People 2020 goals for breastfeeding rates, and document to what extent state laws require hospitals to comply with practices that support breastfeeding among maternity patients.

Public health professionals and policymakers can use these state profiles to understand the patterns, trends, and gaps in their state’s regulations and to identify opportunities for reform.

See our additional resources below for more information and our baby-friendly hospital database at LawAtlas.