Making breastfeeding a public health priority in the United States

Nutrition Seminar
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
11:00 - 12:00, C202
WHO Geneva, Switzerland


Dr Laurence Grummer-Strawn

Dr Grummer-Strawn will highlight national activities on breastfeeding in the United States over the last few years that demonstrate a paradigm shift. Focus on personal choice has been shifting toward focus on societal barriers that interfere with choice, focus on maternal responsibility is giving way to the recognition of the shared accountability of numerous actors, and focus on promotion of breastfeeding is being replaced with an emphasis on support of breastfeeding. National policy documents, notably the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, have galvanized national attention on breastfeeding support.

Availability of new data sources and improved national coordination of breastfeeding support efforts have laid a foundation for public health action. New laws and regulations provide better protection for breastfeeding women by ensuring the ability of women to express milk at the work place and to get access to lactation support services. Changes to the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition programme food package increase financial incentives for breastfeeding and reduce practices that interfere with breastfeeding.

New Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funding programmes help states and communities work on breastfeeding support. Large numbers of hospitals are pursuing adoption of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. While the United States of America has a long way to go to fully support breastfeeding, these changes are highly encouraging.

  • Presentation
    pdf, 993kb

    Disclaimer: The named authors alone are responsible for the views expressed in this presentation

Hosted by:

Evidence and Programme Guidance Unit, Department of Nutrition for Health and Development (NHD)