SDCBC—the San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition—is a non-profit association whose mission is to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. With the help from its members, the coalition is able to fulfill its mission through education and outreach in the community.
Breastmilk is powerful stuff, but moms determined to breastfeed can face all kinds of challenges. It can be a baby with tongue tie or lip tie and therefore can not suck efficiently. It can be an unsupportive or even hostile working environment. It can be postpartum mood disorder. 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%) receive any breastmilk by six months of age.
Breastfeeding is team work. It takes a whole village.
In response to the challenges, a group of concerned individuals formed SDCBC in May, 1994. For the past 23 years, the coalition has distributed more than 400,000 free Breastfeeding Resource Guides in English and Spanish to help families obtain needed breastfeeding resources and support, sponsored health care professional breastfeeding education programs, and conducted county-wide billboard campaign “GOOD HEALTH BEGIN WITH BREASTFEEDING.”
And in the past year, the coalition distributed 28 hospital grade, multi-user and personal-use breast pumps to community clinics and local NICUs. It published a biweekly e-mail Breastfeeding Update with the latest news and views. It continued to distribute more than 2,500 copies of the San Diego County Breastfeeding Resource Guide.
It wasn’t always easy. Just in this past year, local lactation consultants reported to the coalition that a hospital was giving teen moms infant formula samples which created an impression that “medical professionals approve baby formula” and made it much harder for the consultants to encourage breastfeeding.
To promote breastfeeding-friendly efforts, the coalition sponsored a county-wide World Breastfeeding Week hospital celebration contest, and recognized three hospitals. It further awarded breastfeeding-friendly workplaces.
The results made an impact in the community which encouraged more hospitals to commit to baby-friendly initiatives and more employers to support their employees. San Diego City’s Chief Operating Officer Scott Chadwick signed the City’s Lactation/Breastfeeding Accommodation Policy in March of this year.
“Caring for young children is as challenging as it is rewarding,” said Mr. Chadwick, “So we’re proud of our policy providing a positive workplace environment, reasonable accommodations and comfortable facilities that assist new mothers with their work-life balance.”
The City of San Diego was later named a “Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace” by the SDCBC.
Next year, the coalition will recognize breastfeeding champion policy makers, OBs, and pediatricians. The coalition cannot do this without the support from its members. In fact, the breast pumps that the coalition distributed this year were funded by Rest Haven grant.
You can help the coalition with its mission and vision, too. You may complete the membership application form online at https://www.breastfeeding.org/product-category/membership. Thank you for your membership in the San Diego breastfeeding Coalition!