Thursday, October 13, 2011

California Fights for Breastfeeding Support in Hospitals

Have you heard about California SB502? 
I hadn't either until yesterday, but it was signed by California Governor Brown on October 6th, 2011. 

It affects hospital protocol in regards to breastfeeding women, so I thought I'd pass along the information.  If you live outside of California, has your state enacted something similar.

State Bill #502 was written by Senator Fran Pavley and Senator Kevin De Leon, sponsored by California's WIC program, and is known as The Hospital Infant Feeding Protection Act.

Basically this bill is a step towards increasing the rates of exclusive breastfeeding (read: reducing the rate of supplementing/formula feeding) in California hospitals. The bill will go into affect January 2014, so staff has plenty of time to develop their policy, educate the perinatal staff and implement their new infant feeding policy.

SB 502 would require all general acute care hospitals in CA with a perinatal
unit to have an infant feeding policy that is clearly posted and applied to all infants in the unit. It also states that staff must be routinely reminded of the policy so that it doesn't fall by the wayside.

They also want the policy to be based on:
or the

What prompted this bill:

The state of California leads the way in legislation supporting breastfeeding mothers.  There is legislation in place that allows breastfeeding in any public or private location, excuses breastfeeding women from jury duty obligations, and requires that the local departments of public health promote breastfeeding.  However, according to the CDC, “the hospital period is critical for mothers and babies to learn to breastfeed, and hospitals need to do more to support them."  While 90% of California new mothers plan to breastfeed, but only 56% are exclusively breastfeeding upon discharge from the hospital a few days later. 

Lets examine that statistic a little bit:
So out of 100 California women, 90 of them plan to breastfeed, but only 56 are breastfeeding their infant upon discharge.  If we assume that none of the 10 of moms that intended to formula feed changed their mind, this means that 34 women changed their feeding plan while at the hospital -  

That's a third of all women that deliver in California! 

This is a huge opportunity for hospitals to step up and assist these women in learning how to breastfeed, and it requires that all perinatal employees be educated about the options available to these mothers.

I think this is a great thing.
It helps to get staff on the same page and attempts to give each woman the support she needs while in a California hospital.

What are your thoughts?


  1. Love this! Such a great thing. I had so many latching problems & my nurses attempted to help, but ultimately pushed formula on us. I ended up supplementing with formula in the hospital, and weaned my daughter off by the time she was 6 days old. It's a shame that I had to "learn" to breastfeed all alone instead of in the hospital. 10 1/2 months & going strong! :) I am very proud of myself because it was NOT easy!

  2. It sounds fine for those who choose to BF, showing hospitals how to support them. But if you make any other choice, it seems like they will not offer you the same amount of support. All babies and mothers are different, so I don't think a "feeding policy" is fair because one size will definitely not fit all.

  3. I think this is excellent. I can't tell you how many times I have heard "It didn't work for me." Women definitely need more support with breastfeeding. Our generation rarely got to see breastfeeding women, because our moms likely didn't breastfeed, because their moms likely didn't breastfeed.

  4. Other states should follow suit as well. This is vital for the health of its citizens.

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