New Mothers Breastfeeding Education and Support
Special Projects Fund
November 18, 2008
WebsiteSEE GRANT OUTCOMES
Breast milk is a unique nutritional source that cannot adequately be replaced by any other food, even infant formula. It provides an array of health advantages beginning at birth and continuing throughout a child’s life. Research indicates that a large number of the health problems today’s children face might be decreased—even prevented—by breast-feeding the infant exclusively for at least the first six months of life. The longer the mother breast-feeds, the more likely her child will get the health benefits of breast-feeding. While breast-feeding initiation rates have increased dramatically in recent years, duration and exclusivity have not. Studies also indicate that breast-feeding rates are consistently lower in poor urban areas. In 2008, NYHealth awarded Elmhurst Hospital Center a grant to support the development of its proposed lactation clinic.
EHC has developed a culturally sensitive Breastfeeding Clinic and Support Group (BFCSG) to encourage breastfeeding among the 5,000 mothers who use EHC for prenatal and post-partum care each year—more than 80% of whom also obtain ongoing outpatient services from EHC. BFCSG provides the new mothers with a comprehensive array of education, support, and intervention services and collaborates closely with their primary care doctors—particularly those caring for babies in neonatal intensive care.
Breastfeeding is of special benefit to at-risk babies, who if breast-fed, spend three fewer days in neonatal intensive care than do formula-fed babies and have 25% higher survival rates. The primary expected outcome would be an increase of breastfeeding intensity and duration to meet or exceed Federal Healthy People 2010 standards (75% of mothers breastfeeding at three months, and 25% at six months). BFCSG also improves the hospital’s capacity to provide continuity of care and, thereby, potentially improve the long-term health of children and their mothers.