As the State Breastfeeding Coordinator, I am privileged to travel around Indiana, getting a real “birds eye view” of what is going on in breastfeeding. I can assure you that if you could see what is happening in breastfeeding, in its entirety, you would be as excited as I am about how much is being done and the momentum for change that exists. Great change is happening on many fronts.
To name a few:
- A third of our hospitals have either achieved Baby Friendly designation or are working on it (Baby Friendly signifies standard of evidence-based maternity care). Two hospitals became Baby Friendly in 2014; bringing our total number to seven.
- We are working on a grant for High Schools in six communities to figure out how to best work with teen moms who have been largely ignored in breastfeeding messaging.
- Child Care programs are receiving training to learn how to better care for breastfed babies.
- Many communities are building “drop-in” programs where families can go to get free breastfeeding care and support.
- Perhaps most exciting of all is the network of community coalitions that have been built all over the state; volunteers coming together to create supportive environments for breastfeeding where they live. Indiana has nearly 40 local breastfeeding coalitions that are changing the culture of breastfeeding one community at a time.
If you care that every mom and baby in our state experiences the best opportunity to successfully breastfeed I urge you to get involved where you live. Join a coalition, start a coalition, volunteer at a drop-in center… There are many ways that you can make a difference in your communities and in the lives of moms, babies, and families by getting involved on the grassroots level. I look forward to meeting you in my travels.