You may be asking…Is this for me?
The Breastfeeding Family Friendly Communities (BFFC) initiative is for everyone. It is a community-wide program to impact Health Equity, as supported by the World Health Organization guidelines to work with communities to improve breastfeeding support services. In Orange County, we are bringing together stakeholders from diverse backgrounds, community groups, organizations, agencies, and institutions.
Stakeholders include everyone in the community!
Many families initiate breastfeeding in the hospital or birth center and want to continue to breastfeed after leaving the hospital. Yet, most discontinue breastfeeding in the first week or two after their infant’s birth. Families cite negative attitudes about breastfeeding and lack of safe places to feed their infants in the community as reasons to discontinue. We all have a role in supporting families that choose to breastfeed.
We also have local community partners:
- Our local governments, both within our Towns and county wide;
- Healthcare community, including our Health Department, hospitals, WIC and all who support infants, children, and those who are pregnant and lactating;
- Lactation support providers, including both professionals and peer-to-peer support providers;
- Business community; and
- Education community at all ages and stages from child care to post-secondary education.
What is our lens?
Equity is the lens through which we work! Breastfeeding/chestfeeding/human milk feeding offers the best start for an infant, providing needed immunological benefits for the infant’s still-not-mature immune system; protection from upper respiratory illnesses, ear infections, gastro-intestinal illnesses, such as, diarrhea or preterm necrotizing enterocolitis, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome; and, of course, nutrition. Breastfeeding supports optimal development, and this best start continues beyond the one-to-two year age. In fact, these important benefits continue as long as the child is nursing. The benefits are not limited to the breastfeeding infant; there are physical and mental health benefits for the parent and family, too. Supporting a breastfeeding family friendly community really supports a healthier community!
These amazing benefits are available to all nursing infants; however, the support that families need to initiate and sustain lactation is not equitable. Black, Brown, and Indigenous families often receive less information and support starting in pregnancy and going through the birth of their infants and into the weeks and months after birth and beyond. Yet, we know that Black, Brown, and Indigenous families want to breastfeed, and their infants need this vital infant feeding for an optimal start!
Breastfeed Orange NC seeks to build awareness within our communities of these inequities and ways to support our families to provide the optimal start and continued health for infants and their family, so that we can build a just, equitable, and supportive community. The initiative touches all the areas, all the places, in our community where families live, work, grow, and play. All of us are stakeholders in the health and well-being of our families. We look forward to working with you to build a “breastfeeding family friendly community” to ensure that families are able to provide the optimal start for their infants.
For more information about joining the Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community initiative, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.