Illinois Breastfeeding Blueprint
Check out our 2012 webinar presentation for the United States Breastfeeding Committee:
Breastfeeding advocacy – from data to strategy to change – Who do you involve? How do you begin? How do you gather support for what works? Here’s what HC One’s Sadie Wych had to say about our work in Illinois, as a presenter for the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) webinar in August 2012.
If you live outside Illinois, and are considering a Breastfeeding Blueprint for your state, maybe we can help. Click here for details.
HealthConnect One, the Illinois Department of Human Services, and the University of Illinois School of Public Health launched a collaborative statewide initiative in April 2011, the Illinois Breastfeeding Blueprint: A Plan for Change -- to support and increase successful breastfeeding, and to decrease disparities in breastfeeding rates across the state. The Illinois Breastfeeding Blueprint includes both qualitative and quantitative analysis of existing and emerging data, identifies demographic trends in statewide breastfeeding rates, and prioritizes areas in which our efforts should be focused.
We are grateful for the generous financial support of the Polk Bros. Foundation, IDHS, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois for making this project possible. We also deeply appreciate our coalition partners, and all of the breastfeeding peer counselors and community supporters who have shared their perspectives and expertise along the way.
Hospital Breastfeeding Success
As breastfeeding reduces a child’s risk of being obese or overweight by 22%, breastfeeding promotion and support are critical strategies for obesity prevention.
With this framework, HealthConnect One was a proud partner in the Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Led by the Cook County Department of Public Health and the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago, our CPPW partnership in suburban Cook County used obesity-prevention strategies to enact policy, systems and environmental change.
We were also involved with Healthy Places, a collaborative effort between the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children at Children's Memorial Hospital (CLOCC). As part of this partnership, HealthConnect One encouraged Chicago hospitals with labor and delivery units to increase their institutional support for breastfeeding and to adopt steps towards becoming officially designated as “Baby-Friendly Hospitals.” This project was supported by funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative, Cooperative Agreement Number 1U58DP002376-01.
Together with these and other partners throughout the state, we made - and continue to make - significant breastfeeding policy, systems and environmental changes in Illinois. Since 2011, this has included:
- Convening and coordinating the Hospital Breastfeeding Council for the Chicagoland area, to build momentum and support for stronger breastfeeding policy in Illinois hospitals.
- Providing training and technical assistance to 20 Illinois hospitals who have begun implementing the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.
- Working with the State Quality Council to implement a statewide breastfeeding quality improvement project.
- Establishing three new breastfeeding peer counselor programs in the Chicago area.
We were also thrilled to support efforts which resulted in (1) the Hospital Infant Feeding Act, requiring every hospital that provides birthing services to adopt an infant feeding policy that promotes breastfeeding, and (2) breastfeeding initiation and exclusive breastfeeding rates becoming available on the Illinois Hospital Report Card. (To check breastfeeding rates for a single hospital, click on the "Safety" tab for that hospital's report card.)
For more information on all of this, please visit the Illinois Breastfeeding Blueprint website here.
Community involvement is essential to success. It is advocates throughout the state who make goals like these a reality.
- To see how you can support ongoing efforts in Illinois -- not only in hospitals, but with state or local government, in your workplace, and in your community -- please visit the Illinois Breastfeeding Blueprint's Take Action page.
- If you work in a hospital, please check out our Hospital Breastfeeding Toolkit for recommendations and resources. Your work towards improving breastfeeding-related maternity care practices will be significant for improving the health of both mothers and infants by providing infants with the best start in life.
- To learn more, please contact HC One's Project Coordinator Sadie Wych at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 878 -7023.
Chicago Region Breastfeeding Task Force
HealthConnect One Trainer Helen Dimas serves as Treasurer and Social Media Manager for the Chicago Region Breastfeeding Task Force. For more information on their Grandmother's Tea, Peer Counselor Enrichment Day, or other Chicago-area activities, please visit their website here.
Breast-feeding disparities sharp in Chicago-area hospitals - WBEZ's Chip Mitchell - March 14, 2011
Breastfeeding in the Fight Against Obesity - Research brief from Northwestern University's Institue for Policy Research, Fall 2010