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DPH Supports Breastfeeding because Breastfeeding Supports Health

December 2nd, 2015

It is well documented that breastfeeding has numerous benefits to both mother and child. For this reason the Department is working to both increase the number of women that choose to or initiate breastfeeding as well as reducing the barriers in the environment that cause women to stop breastfeeding before they are ready.

Through a five-year CDC 1305 grant (SHAPe) the Department is addressing three key areas to improve the breastfeeding landscape in Connecticut.

Hospitals Can Make a Difference

 Implementing Practices Supportive of Breastfeeding in Birthing Facilities

According to the CDC, a major factor in breastfeeding success is having supportive hospital maternity care practices Along with the Connecticut Breastfeeding Coalition (CBC), and its Ten Steps Collaborative, the Department has directed its CDC 1305 grant resources to provide training and support to hospital staff on “The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding,”through an interactive train-the-trainer workshop, Connecticut Birth and Beyond in May of 2014. In 2015, the Department, CBC and Southern Connecticut State University collaborated on a series of focus groups to learn about how new parents and maternity nurses felt about the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) and messages regarding evidenced based maternity care. Slated for 2016, development of consumer messages based on focus group findings.

For more information on project’s supporting evidenced based maternity care, please contact DPH Breastfeeding Co-Coordinators Marilyn Lonczak and Pamela Beaulieu at or

It Takes a Community to be Successful at Breastfeeding

Provide Access to Peer and Professional Support

At the community level, consistent messages matter. In order to achieve this, the Department is partnering with a training consultant from UConn Health Center for Public Health and Health Policy to provide staff at Federally Qualified Health Centers and various peer support networks such as Breastfeeding USA, Nurturing Families and La Leche League access to the Secrets of Baby Behavior training. The Secrets of Baby Behavior training was developed by the California WIC Program and US Davis Human Lactation Center through a USDA funded, 2009 WIC Special Projects grant. The training aims to assist health care team in providing consistent messages to parents and support people regarding Infant Cues, Crying and Sleep, with the goal of increasing exclusive breastfeeding and reducing supplementation or overfeeding of formula.

For more information about Secrets of Baby Behavior or how your FQHC or community group can apply to be trained, contact Marilyn Lonczak at

Let’s Make it Work

Ensuring Worksite Compliance with State and Federal Lactation Accommodation Laws.

Returning to work should not be a barrier to breastfeeding your baby. For mothers that make the decision to breastfeed, a supportive work environment can make all the difference in breastfeeding for 6 days or 6 months or more. This is why the Department supports the CBC’s Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite Program which recognizes employers that comply with both Federal and State lactation accommodation laws. And it’s not only the employee who benefits- it is a Win-Win-Win! Employer-Employee-Baby! Studies show that breastfed infants are sick less and have less medical costs than formula fed counterparts and that in general, breastfeeding mothers are absent less, more productive, and have better morale. For more information about Connecticut’s Breastfeeding laws; the Federal laws or how your worksite can apply to be recognized as Breastfeeding Friendly; go to and click on the Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite Program links in the left navigation bar.

This information was originally published on the CT Department of Public Health.