Proposal: to Increase Breastfeeding Rates in New York

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Public Budgeting
Professor Lynch
Spring 2009

Proposal to: Increase Breastfeeding Rates in New York

In a time when overwhelming research shows that human milk is superior to any sort of manufactured human milk substitute, with great economic benefits for breastfeeding families, the health care system, and society in general, breastfeeding is no longer seen as just an individual choice, but as a public health challenge that deserves more publicity to create supportive systems and environments for mothers to breastfeed. Human milk is more than food, it’s a living substance like blood that have active germs fighting and health ingredients to help protect babies against all kinds of common or un-common infections. Human milk have all the necessary nutrients and a low protein content a baby will need and any period of breastfeeding a women can give either short or long would be of benefit. The national goals set by Health People 2010 are for 75% of women to initiate breastfeeding, for 50% to still be breastfeeding at 6 months and 25 % by 12 months. Billions of healthcare dollars would be saved if more infants were exclusively breastfed and for a longer time. The United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC)

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estimates that $2 billion per year are spent by families on infant formula and that $3.6 – 7 billion dollars could be saved each year in preventable conditions if breastfeeding rates were increased to the recommended levels. Breastfeeding is one of the most important aspects of infant health. When babies are fed with formula rather than breast milk they are more likely to be sick more often and more seriously. The health problems that infants encounter for not breastfeeding are gastrointestinal, respiratory, and ear infections. There are negative health consequences to not breastfeeding for the mother also. The mothers experience more postpartum bleeding and delayed uterine involution, return or no return to pre-pregnancy weight and increase risk of ovarian cancer. Additionally, formula feeding is not good for the environment since it burdens our landfills and required more fuels for its manufacturer and preparation. It also creates pollution from required products during the manufacturing of plastic bottles and containers for the storage and delivery of infant formula Despite evidence that in New York State there has being a decrease in the number of women who initiates breastfeeding, minority and low income women are still being reluctant to promote breastfeeding. According to the New York State Department of Health is goal is to provide the physical and emotional well-being of childbearing mothers and their infants by increasing the rate and duration of breastfeeding in the State. Page 3

The overall percentage of New York women breastfeeding is 76.3% higher than that of the entire United States. However, the overall rate of women New York exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 months is only 8.4%, 3 months exclusively 25.5% and 12 months 24.6 %. Existing Law

Several laws have been enacted in New York to protect a woman’s right to breastfeed. In August of 2007 Governor Eliot Spitzer sing into legislation protecting rights of nursing mother in the workplace, that requires employers to provide uncompensated time and private space to express milk or nurse their children for a period of time. A bill was introduced to amend the public health law in relation to breastfeeding mother’s bill of rights. The public health law was amended by adapting a new section 2505 which specifies that a patient bill of rights for breastfeeding should be posted in a public place in each maternal health care facility. The Breastfeeding Bill of Rights was re-introduced for breastfeeding practice and the New York State Rules and Regulations for more to be done to protect mother’s right to breastfeed her child, but also empower and supports new mothers as they seek to breastfeed their...
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