Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding

Of the approximately 45,000 infants born each year in San Diego County, 89 % have the opportunity to breastfeed in the hospital, but far fewer (less than 20 percent) receive any breastmilk by six months of age. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Dietetic Association, the U.S. Surgeon General, WHO/UNICEF, and many other organizations recognize, and are actively promoting, breastmilk as the optimum food for infants. In 1997 the California Department of Health Services published “Breastfeeding: Investing in California’s Future” to support and guide breastfeeding efforts in the state. A 2007 updated report and recommendations from the State will be available soon. The San Diego community has also made the promotion and support of breastfeeding a priority.

In response to the documented benefits of breastfeeding for the infant, the mother, the family and society as a whole, a group of concerned individuals and organizations, both private and public, formed the San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition (SDCBC) as a non-profit 501(c)(3) association whose mission is to promote and support breastfeeding through education and outreach in the community. (Click here to view our Mission, Vision, Values, Goals in our Strategic Plan.)

Since the inception of the Coalition in May 1994, over 400,000 free Breastfeeding Resource Guides in English and Spanish have been distributed to help families obtain needed breastfeeding resources and support. (View the English Resource Guides) The Coalition sponsors health care professional breastfeeding education programs, and conducted a county-wide billboard campaign with the slogan “GOOD HEALTH BEGINS WITH BREASTFEEDING” in English and Spanish. Brochures for employers and employees on working and breastfeeding were developed jointly by the Coalition, the March of Dimes and Children’s Hospital. An interactive CD ROM, “Breastfeeding & The Bottom Line” was developed for human resource managers and employers.

The Coalition presents an annual award to honor San Diego County businesses with breastfeeding-friendly policies and programs for their employees, and established a window-sticker program (“Breastfeeding Welcome Here”) to encourage patronage of breastfeeding-friendly establishments. Over 200 breastfeeding books, in English and Spanish, have been donated to San Diego County libraries. World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7 each year) has been celebrated with various interviews, media events, and educational and public relations efforts. The coalition maintains informational displays at many community events and educational conferences. Our web site, www.breastfeeding.org, continues to be visited frequently as a resource for both the public and healthcare professionals. Dedicated community volunteers generously contribute their time to perform all SDCBC activities. The SDCBC depends entirely on memberships, conference proceeds, small grants and donations to fund our activities. Breastfeeding is cost-effective, preventive medicine and should be the norm in our population. YOU can help by becoming a member or sponsor of the SDCBC.

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