Breastfeeding is recognized as one of the most effective methods of preventing illness and protecting the health of infants and mothers. Breastfeeding provides babies with a healthy start in life by protecting them against SIDS, childhood leukemia, Type 1 and 2 diabetes, asthma, allergies, eczema, and ear and respiratory infections. Babies who are breastfed are also less likely to be obese or overweight as children.
Despite all of these benefits, Chicago women breastfeed at rates below state and national averages. A woman’s decision to breastfeed is influenced by many factors, such as the information she receives about breastfeeding before and during her pregnancy, the support she has from family members, the amount of help she receives with breastfeeding in the hospital, or her need to return to work or school after the baby is born.
By providing women and families with breastfeeding education, assisting employers in implementing workplace lactation support programs, and working with hospitals to become “Baby-Friendly,” Healthy Places is working throughout Chicago to make breastfeeding the easier option for women.
In March of 2012, the Chicago Department of Public Health released a policy brief about breastfeeding and the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, supporting the work of Healthy Places as part of their Healthy Chicago plan. You can read the policy brief here.
Learn more about the breastfeeding initiatives in Healthy Places: