April 13, 2009

HHS Call to Action on Breastfeeding – Submit Your Comments

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Office on Women’s Health, Office of the Surgeon General, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced a Call to Action on Breastfeeding, and are soliciting comments from individuals and organizations about breastfeeding in the United States.

The website for the initiative explains:

“Breastfeeding is unquestionably healthier for mothers and babies compared to feeding with infant formula. The scientific literature is clear. Numerous reviews of the medical literature have confirmed these benefits. But life in America often creates barriers to breastfeeding and makes it hard for women to breastfeed. It is time for our society to get serious about giving families the support they need to be successful with breastfeeding. For this reason, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) would like to open up a national dialogue on how to make breastfeeding easier in this country.”

The Call to Action on Breastfeeding website also provides some information on the types of comments they are interested in:

“We welcome your suggestions about policies, activities, or other initiatives to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding that need to be considered for inclusion in our national action plan for the next decade. We are especially interested in new ideas that will increase equity in breastfeeding rates among all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. Ideas should build on programs and policies that are recognized to be effective or evidence-based. In addition, we welcome suggestions to adopt, expand, implement, research, or improve existing strategies.”

There are 12 specific areas for which the agencies are soliciting comments:

  • Maternal and Infant Care Practices: Prenatal, Hospital, and Post-Delivery Care
  • Access to Lactation Care and Support
  • Health Professional Education, Publications, and Conferences
  • Use of Banked Human Milk
  • Worksite Lactation Support, Onsite Child Care, and Milk Expression
  • Paid Maternity Leave
  • Portrayal of Breastfeeding in Traditional Popular Media and New Electronic Media
  • Support for Breastfeeding in Public Settings
  • Peer Support and Education of Family Members and Friends
  • Community Support for Breastfeeding in Complementary Programs (e.g., Early Head Start, Home Visitation, Parental Training)
  • Research and Surveillance
  • Other Areas

The collected comments are intended to be considered by the Office on Women’s Health and other agencies in the development of a “a new national plan of action” on breastfeeding. Comments that have already been submitted can be viewed here, and you can submit your own comments via this online form. Although the website doesn’t seem to provide it, the deadline for your submissions is May 31, 2009.


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