August is National Breastfeeding month, which gives us an opportunity to celebrate the work being done in our state and through the great partnerships we have with so many organizations.
For over a decade, we have supported breastfeeding initiatives because breastfeeding means healthier moms and babies. Doing all that we can to support efforts that increase education and access is a win for us all.
Change takes time and it takes partnership. Over the last 13 years, we’ve invested in building this partnership to achieve change. Whether it’s the 38 hospitals throughout Kansas participating in the High 5 for Mom & Baby program or local breastfeeding coalitions, local WIC programs, breastfeeding consultants and educators, or CHWs and doulas, we celebrate the collaboration towards our shared goal, healthy families in Kansas. We want to take this time to applaud the efforts of our many local partners that provide support, advocacy and education to help ALL families have better health.
The ‘why’ for all of us is the same, healthy families in Kansas means a better Kansas for us all. We know that breastfeeding has a huge impact on the health of a newborn, the birth giver and these benefits can continue well into the future for both.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) 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. When these goals are met, the risk of infant mortality decreases significantly, babies receive the nutrients and energy needed for physical and neurological growth and development, and imparts enormous health benefits to mom.
The Health Fund supports breastfeeding as it is part of our mission to ensure that all Kansas children have the healthy starts necessary to thrive. We specifically support efforts to close the breastfeeding gap for communities of color as Black and Brown babies and mothers in Kansas are up to three times more likely to die in pregnancy, childbirth, or infancy.
We continue to support this work because we know these efforts are working. According to the CDC Kansas 2022 State Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) report, Kansas has made improvements.
- Kansas moved up to 9th in the national ranking, from 13th in 2020, 22nd in 2018, and 36th in 2015.
- Kansas continues to exceed the national score with a score of 82/100 compared to the national score of 81.
- Kansas has the 8th highest response rate in the Nation – 82% of Kansas hospitals responded to the survey compared to the national average of 72%.
These improvements and certainly the work ahead are because of good policies from our state leaders, agency strategies and outreach, the advocates working directly with families, and well-informed communities that support each other. We hope to continue to be an active part of all of these by boosting the efforts of others, collaborating where we can, and offering strategic support when we can.
To learn more about our amazing partners, read and follow the links below.
Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition – Works collaboratively to achieve a vision where breastfeeding/human milk feeding is normal and supported throughout Kansas. https://ksbreastfeeding.org
Kansas Perinatal Quality Collaborative – Healthy pregnancies & a healthy start to life for babies are fundamental aspects of public health. KPQC combines the expertise of clinical teams and public health leaders, evidence-based practices and quality improvement processes to improve health outcomes for mothers and babies and make Kansas the best place to give birth, be born, and raise a family. https://kansaspqc.org
Kansas Birth Justice Society – Today, Black and Brown babies and mothers in KS are up to three times more likely to die in pregnancy, childbirth, or infancy. KBJS provides community-driven programs and services to Black, Latinx, and Native American families to improve survival and long-term health for birth givers and infants. https://ksbirthjustice.org
High 5 for Mom & Baby – This program includes 38 KS hospitals in Kansas which promote 10 evidence-based practices supporting mothers and infants in meeting their breastfeeding goals for optimal health. https://high5kansas.org
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