The disparity in breastfeeding statistics across neighborhoods in Hamilton County is staggering. Only 1 in 3 babies receive any mother’s milk in one neighborhood, compared to almost every baby in another neighborhood.
It is important for employers, providers, and societies to support these moms because the benefits are vast. Babies who are breastfed have:
- A lower risk of pneumonia requiring hospitalization, even from RSV
- A lower risk of ear infections, diarrhea, and even chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, allergies, leukemia, and obesity
- A reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome (a study linking breastfeeding rates and infant mortality showed a 19% reduction in infant mortality in babies who received any of their mother’s milk and a 51% reduction in deaths during the first 28 days of life).
- Less necrotizing enterocolitis, a condition that can be fatal, when premature
- Mothers with a reduced risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes, and hypertension
Resources in Hamilton County
We recognize that it does not come easily for all women, so we want moms to know about local resources available to help initiate and continue breastfeeding. To begin, we recommend that all babies see their primary care provider within 48 hours of discharge. Further, in Hamilton County there is help for difficulty with things like latching, pain, or milk supply:
- Each birth hospital has a phone line for moms to call with questions and holds outpatient lactation visits. They are also incorporating the World Health Organization’s Ten Steps for Successful Breastfeeding, which includes further clinical practices and procedures.
- Cincinnati Children’s Center for Breastfeeding Medicine has clinic appointments at our Burnet, Mason, Green Township and Northern Kentucky campuses, as well as a warm line: 513-636-2326.
- WIC Clinics all over the city provide breastfeeding counseling and care.
- Peer to Peer Support is available at: AMEN Moms Groups, BOOBS, La Leche League, Baby Cafés, Breastfeeding USA, and MORE! (All of these resources and MORE are listed on theSouthwest Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition website with local resources and an active Facebook group)
Helping Breastfeeding Moms Return to Work
One of the largest barriers breastfeeding moms face is returning to the workplace. Part of the Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide reasonable break time and a private, non-bathroom environment for nursing mothers to express breast milk during the workday, for one year after the child’s birth. The Office of Women’s Health has a database of resources available to help mothers and employers navigate this process, whether the mom works in a berry farm, a fast food restaurant, or an office.
Raising Awareness for Better Support
In Cincinnati there are many options for mothers and families to receive support, but they need to be aware of it and know how to utilize it. August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month, and this year’s theme is “Support Changes Everything.” Families, friends, communities, clinicians, health care leaders, employers, researchers, and policymakers can all play an important role in supporting breastfeeding families.
As a member of the Center for Breastfeeding Medicine team, it is our goal to increase the rates of initiation and continuation for all mothers. Please help us by sharing this post so that the moms and families you know can find the resources that they need.