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HHS Blueprints and Breastfeeding Policy Statements
- About the HHS Blueprint for Action on Breastfeeding
- More information on hhs blueprints and breastfeeding policy statements
A subcommittee of the Federal Interagency Working Group on Women's Health and the Environment developed the HHS Blueprint for Action on Breastfeeding (archive) released in October 2000 by the Surgeon General, representing the first comprehensive framework on breastfeeding for the Nation.
The Blueprint focuses attention on the importance of breastfeeding and recommends action steps for the health care system, families, the community, researchers and the workplace to promote breastfeeding. The framework also identifies racial and ethnic disparities that exist in breastfeeding, and reveals extremely low rates that exist among African American women. The plan was developed by several organizations in the medical, business, women's health, advocacy and academic communities and promotes a plan for breastfeeding based on education, training, awareness, support and research. Specifically, the plan lays out a framework based on the recommendation that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first 4-6 months of a baby's life, preferably 6 months.
OWH commissioned an evidence-based review from the Agency for Healthcare and Quality Research to update the scientific evidence presented in the Blueprint published in 2007, the review evaluated all of the recently published studies related to breastfeeding and infant health outcomes, maternal health outcomes, and best practices to promote and support breastfeeding. Read the full review: Breastfeeding and Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes in Developed Countries (PDF, 3.5 MB) (addendum, May 2009).
The review established that breastfeeding is associated with a lower risk of ear infections, stomach viruses, severe lower respiratory infections, atopic dermatitis, asthma, obesity, types 1 and 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and necrotizing enterocolitis in infants. Breastfeeding mothers have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and breast and ovarian cancer. Stopping breastfeeding early or not breastfeeding raises the risk of postpartum depression.
Explore other publications and websites
American Academy of Pediatrics' Policy on Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk (Copyright © American Academy of Pediatrics) — This resource points out the benefits of breastfeeding for the infant and its mother. It also provides suggestions for health professionals who want to advocate breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding (Copyright © Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses) — AWHONN supports legislation and initiatives that promote and protect breastfeeding and lactation in the workplace. This statement describes elements of breastfeeding support legislation supported by AWHONN and provides background information.
Breastfeeding Among U.S. Children Born 1999—2006, CDC National Immunization Survey — This report includes the results of the 2003 National Immunization Survey on breastfeeding. The results provide overall population estimates for the initiation, duration, and exclusivity of breastfeeding, as well as geographically-specific breastfeeding rates.
Breastfeeding is Priceless: No Substitute for Human Milk (Copyright © Lamaze International) — This policy statement explains the advantages of breastfeeding over using infant formula. It addresses positive outcomes for both the infant and the mother.
Breastfeeding Laws (Copyright © National Conference of State Legislatures) — This publication has a comprehensive listing of the various laws enacted that relate to breastfeeding in each of the 50 states in the U.S.
Breastfeeding Position Statement (Copyright © American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) — This publication states the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists support of breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding Report Card — The Breastfeeding Report Card shows how breastfeeding is being protected, promoted, and supported in each state and allows comparisons across states, making it an important tool for increasing breastfeeding nationwide.
Breastfeeding, Family Physicians Supporting (Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians) — This position paper discusses breastfeeding's health effects and special breastfeeding issues such as maternal illness, infectious diseases, breast surgery, infant illness, nursing beyond infancy, and employment.
Exclusive Breastfeeding (Copyright © World Health Organization) — This publication recommends that mothers should breastfeed exclusively for six months. The statement highlights important nutritional advantages and benefits of breastfeeding to both baby and mother, differences between human milk and animal milks, the Baby-Friendly Hospital initiative, and the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.
NAPNAP Position Statement on Breastfeeding (Copyright © National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners) — This position statement outlines the breastfeeding recommendations of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates and Practitioners (NAPNAP). It emphasizes breastfeeding's advantages for infants and families, the importance of breastfeeding support programs, the goals of such programs, and explains cases where NAPNAP concedes that breastfeeding may be contraindicated. NAPNAP encourages its membership to take six critical steps to improve breastfeeding practices.
Position on Infant Feeding in Emergencies (Copyright © International Lactation Consultant Association) — This position statement discusses the practice of breastfeeding during emergencies such as armed conflicts, natural disasters, refugee crisis and other events that can upset food supply, sanitation and breed illness.
Position Paper on HIV and Infant Feeding (Copyright © International Lactation Consultant Association) — The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimates that 1 in 5 babies born to HIV-positive mothers become infected during pregnancy and delivery and 1 in 7 during breastfeeding. This publication denotes how public health officials can work to address this problem and seek new scientific discoveries to reduce mother to child HIV transmission.
Position Statement: Breastfeeding (Copyright © American College of Nurse-Midwives) — This statement reviews the benefits of breastfeeding for the infant and family, and suggests steps nurse-midwives should take in order to improve breastfeeding practices.
Prevention of Rickets and Vitamin D Deficiency: New Guidelines for Vitamin D Intake (Copyright © American Academy of Pediatrics) — As Rickets in infants continues to be an issue in the United States, this report clarifies recommendations for vitamin D intake, for both breastfed and formula fed infants. It also addresses the differences of vitamin D found in breast milk and formula.
Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding (Copyright © American Dietetic Association) — This report ecourages mothers to only breastfeed for the first six months of the infant's life. The publication points out the health benefits of breastfed infants.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendations on Counseling to Promote Breastfeeding — This publication summarizes the U.S. Preventative Services Task force recommendations for when and how health professionals should counsel patients about breastfeeding.
Connect with other organizations
Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Pediatrics
American College of Nurse-Midwives
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American Dietetic Association
Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA)
National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates and Practitioners, Inc.
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC
National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition
Office of the Surgeon General, HHS
United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC)
Womenshealth.gov, OWH, HHS
World Health Organization
Content last updated August 1, 2010.
Resources last updated August 1, 2010.
A federal government website managed by the Office on Women's Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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