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 (4312)

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) (1285)(pdf, 100KB)

Texas DSHS/WIC Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign: Right from the Start

An awareness campaign designed to move pre-contemplators and key facility decision makers into action for improvment. The information briefs along with the supplemental reports listed below, raise awareness for leaders on how policies can affect breastfeeding outcomes and improves quality of care, and demonstrates how improved breastfeeding support has a positive impact on reducing obesity. The briefs introduce audiences to the WHO/UNICEF Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeedingand encourages incremental improve­ments in maternity care while outlining resources offered in Texas. Recipients of the brief include key leadership contacts from Texas birthing facilities.

Right from the Start: How Texas Hospitals Can Reduce Obesity Through Breastfeeding Policies, 2011

Supplemental reports, 2011 brief:

Right from the Start: How Texas Hospitals Can Improve Quality Through Breastfeeding Policies (1816)

Supplemental reports, 2016 brief: