Policies Shape Outcomes

Breastfeeding rates in Texas lag behind national averages, and many women report they are unable to meet their personal breastfeeding goals. Whether a woman chooses to start breastfeeding and how long she continues is closely tied to the patient care practices she and her infant experience during her newborn’s first minutes, hours, and days.

Regional Reports Of In-Hospital Any/ Exclusive Breastfeeding Rates on Day 2 (2703)

Practices that delay or interrupt the first breastfeed, that cause separation of babies and mothers, or that result in formula supplementation of breastfed babies make it difficult for mothers and babies to successfully breastfeed. Hospitals’ support of mothers who wish to remain in close contact with their infants and to feed them only breastmilk helps to ensure successful breastfeeding from the start, with continued exclusive breastfeeding once they go home.

A multicenter, randomized control study found that babies born in hospitals whose policies promoted exclusive breastfeeding were significantly more likely to be exclusively breastfed at six months.[1] Other studies confirm that evidence-based maternity practices, including “Baby-Friendly” hospital standards, improve mothers’ chances of achieving their breastfeeding goals.[2]

Although breastfeeding is natural for mother and baby, it also requires a set of skills that need to be learned. Birthing facilities are best positioned to foster skill development and nurture breastfeeding behaviors during this critical period for successful establishment of lactation.

Impact of Incremental Change Table (pdf, 100KB)

Texas DSHS Right From the Start Initiative:

Launched in 2011, this facility brief was designed to move pre-contemplators and key facility decision makers into action. The information brief along with the supplemental reports listed below, raises awareness that policies can affect breastfeeding outcomes, introduces audiences to the WHO/UNICEF Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, and encourages incremental improve­ments in maternity care. Recipients of the brief include key leadership contacts from Texas birthing facilities.

The following documents were supplemental reports included in the 2011 Right From the Start brief: