Health Department Celebrates B’more for Healthy Babies Breastfeeding Awareness Initiatives in Upton/Druid Heights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BALTIMORE, MD (August 15, 2018) —Today, in celebration of National Breastfeeding Month, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen joined community partners to recognize B’more for Healthy Babies (BHB), the City’s initiative to reduce infant mortality and improve outcomes in the first three years of a child’s life and promote the importance of breastfeeding. The Upton/Druid Heights neighborhood, which has had three years of zero infant mortality and nearly five years without a sleep-related infant death, had one of the highest infant mortality rates in the city prior to the initiative.

“I am so proud of the work of B’more for Healthy Babies and the partnerships in the Upton/Druid Heights neighborhood to reduce infant mortality,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. “In celebration of National Breastfeeding Month, we continue to promote the science that shows breastfeeding is best for the mother and child, and to provide all the support we can to improve the health and well-being of mothers, babies, and families.”

The City’s B’more for Healthy Babies initiative has been operating in the Upton/Druid Heights neighborhood since 2010. It convenes a Community Collaborative of early childhood providers to coordinate outreach and events and a Neighborhood Action Team to spur neighborhood change and social connections that support young families. The breastfeeding support group is staffed by the BHB Resource Moms, including a certified lactation counselor who provides peer support to mothers in the neighborhood.

Breastfeeding in Baltimore City:

  • 71% of mothers in Baltimore City initiate breastfeeding, an increase of 25% since 2010
  • The breastfeeding rate in Baltimore City (71%, 2016) remains lower than the national average: 81% (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014).
  • More than 1,200 pregnant women and mothers in the City’s prenatal and early childhood home visiting programs receive one-on-one breastfeeding counseling and support from nurses and paraprofessionals.

Benefits of Breastfeeding according to the American Academy of Pediatrics):

  • Breast milk offers the perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat for a baby’s growth
  • Breast milk contains antibodies that help babies fight off viruses and bacteria
  • There is a better survival in the first year, including a lower risk for sleep-related infant death
  • There is a lower risk for developing allergic diseases, asthma, obesity, and type 2 diabetes
  • Breastfeeding helps mothers lose pregnancy weight faster
  • Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of a baby's life, followed by breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of complementary foods until at least 12 months of age, and continuation of breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby.

For more information about the Baltimore City Health Department’s Maternal and Child Health resources, visit https://health.baltimorecity.gov.

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