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    HomeNewsSanta Barbara County Nutritional Services Releases In-Hospital Breastfeeding Report

    Santa Barbara County Nutritional Services Releases In-Hospital Breastfeeding Report

    The Santa Barbara County Nutrition Services Breastfeeding / Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program is pleased to announce the release of the most current data of in-hospital breastfeeding data from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health (MCAH) Division. The 2020 data can be viewed at the CDPH In-Hospital Breastfeeding Initiation Data website. This data highlights the importance of breastfeeding-friendly hospitals, the importance of promoting and supporting exclusive breastfeeding, and the impact early support can have on the health of Santa Barbara County children and breastfeeding parents in the early postpartum period.

    This data is an important reminder to celebrate mothers and lactating parents, and work to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding and human milk feeding in our County. This year, the theme is “Making a Difference for Working Parents.” Challenges at work can mean that women never breastfeed or stop breastfeeding earlier than is recommended, according to the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee. Women with less than 3 months of maternity leave also reported that they stopped breastfeeding earlier than women with 3 or more months of leave.

    The World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that breastfeeding be initiated within the first hour after birth, continued exclusively for the first 6 months of life, and continued, with safe and adequate complementary foods, up to 2 years or beyond. These goals require extensive support for the mother and baby. While this important support starts at the hospital, consistent education and assistance via local providers and community groups is also essential.

    In Santa Barbara County, 67.5% of babies are exclusively breastfed upon hospital discharge. In California, 69.4% of babies are exclusively breastfed. Infants not exclusively breastfed are receiving both breastmilk and formula in the hospital. Data is also stratified by race and ethnicity. In Santa Barbara County, exclusive breastfeeding rates vary, with the lowest rates among Black (57.9%), Hispanic (61%), and highest rates among White (86.1%), Multiracial (83%), and Asian (75%) populations. In 2019 and 2018, exclusive breastfeeding rates were 68.6% and 66.4% respectively.

    The Public Health Department’s Nutrition Services / WIC program works together with hospitals and partners to utilize this report to ensure policies and practices are supportive of breastfeeding.

    “The known benefits of breastfeeding for nursing mothers and their babies’ long-term health drive our commitment to providing mothers with the support and resources needed to meet their feeding goals. Cottage strives to empower mothers to embark on their breastfeeding journey with confidence. As a designated Baby-Friendly® hospital, our Women’s Services team works closely with expectant mothers during pregnancy, through delivery, postpartum and after being discharged home.”- Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Perinatal Services

    “Lompoc Valley Medical Center is dedicated to implementing the baby-friendly 10 steps into our program to further improve our ability to support breastfeeding mothers in the Lompoc District. Within the next year, all staff involved in breastfeeding will undergo extensive training related to supporting breastfeeding mothers and their babies.” – Lompoc Valley Medical Center, Perinatal Services

    “Marian Regional Medical Center strives to support a healthier community from the very first day of life. We endeavor to close the gap between exclusive breastfeeding rates and any breastfeeding rates within our community. We understand and support the need for education to grasp the importance and impact that breastmilk and breastfeeding have on a developing infant. We continue to give the utmost, top tier care to all patients to improve the health of the community as a whole.” – Marian Regional Medical Center, Perinatal Department

    Working together as a community, we can make strides towards a more breastfeeding- friendly environment for all infants born in Santa Barbara County. For additional information on local breastfeeding support through WIC, visit the Public Health Department’s Nutrition Services Breastfeeding website at https://www.countyofsb.org/1849/Breastfeeding-Program.

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