NH DHHS - Breastfeeding Support for New Mothers Can Make a Big Difference

Concord, NH – With 8 out of every 10 New Hampshire mothers choosing to

breastfeed their infant after delivery, more and more mothers are returning

to work and asking their employer to provide a breastfeeding friendly

workplace. In 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

introduced an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act to require Break

Time for Nursing Mothers. This federal law mandates a minimum level of

workplace support for nursing mothers and requires employers to provide

reasonable break time and a place to express milk for up to the infant’s

first year of life. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human

Services (DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is also

encouraging breastfeeding through such actions as the Breastfeeding

Friendly Employer Award and the Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Award.

“Breastfeeding promotion and support is an important part of our public

health message within the Division of Public Health Services,” DHHS Public

Health Director Dr. José Montero. “Many of our programs that provide

services to the women of New Hampshire include breastfeeding promotion and

support services, such as our WIC Nutrition Program, the Breastfeeding Peer

Counseling Program, our Home Visiting Program, SIDS Program and our

state-funded Community Health Centers. We recognize the importance of

supporting mothers who choose to breastfeeding and value the public health

reward, such as reduced rates of obesity, type 2-diabetes, and

cardiovascular disease.”

Last year, DPHS teamed up with the New Hampshire Breastfeeding Task Force

to launch a Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award. The award was presented

to employers who are establishing and maintaining comprehensive,

high-quality lactation support for their employees. Employers are

encouraged to apply for this annual award this year.

This year, DPHS and the New Hampshire Breastfeeding Task Force have teamed

up again to promote a Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Award. This award

is open to all New Hampshire licensed child care providers who are

providing the highest level of breastfeeding support within their program

to support nursing mothers and infants, as well as employees. As more

employers and child care providers join the recent movement to support

breastfeeding mothers, the opportunity to meet the American Academy of

Pediatrics’ (AAP) recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for the first

six months will become achievable for more working mothers.

“We recognize that mothers want to provide the best health and nutrition

for their babies,” said Montero. “Research clearly shows that exclusive

breastfeeding for the first six months provides optimal nutrition. New

Hampshire is ready to follow the recommendations of the AAP and the US

Surgeon General and take action to make it a reality for working mothers in

the Granite State.”

The DPHS Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Section and the Maternal and

Child Health Section continue to work collaboratively to promote, support,

and encourage breastfeeding for all pregnant women and new mothers. To

learn more about current and past initiatives, visit the NH DHHS website at

www.dhhs.state.nh.us/dphs/nhp/wic/breastfeeding.htm .

This breastfeeding initiative is one of the topics DHHS is focusing on in

recognition of National Public Health Week, April 7–11 (#nphw #nhphw). For

more information on NPHW visit www.nphw.org