Supporting Breastfeeding at Birth in Indian Country
Breastfeeding helps to prevent numerous health problems which afflict Native American communities, such as obesity, and type II diabetes in mothers and children. The Breastfeeding Center is involved in multiple partnerships to increase breastfeeding in Indian Country.
As part of Michelle Obama’s initiative Let’s Move! In Indian Country, the Indian Health Service (IHS) aims to make all 13 delivery hospitals Baby-Friendly by the end of 2014. So far, 5 IHS hospitals have been Baby-Friendly designated. Rosebud, Pine Ridge, and Quentin N Burdick Memorial hospital were designated in December 2012 and are the first three Baby-Friendly hospitals in the Dakotas. Claremore Indian Hospital (designated June 2013) is the first Baby-Friendly hospital in Oklahoma, and Phoenix Indian Medical Center (June 2013) the first Baby-Friendly hospital in Arizona. Director of The Breastfeeding Center, Anne Merewood PhD, MPH, IBCLC, is a consultant to the Indian Health Service on the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI).
In addition, with funding and support from the Kellogg Foundation, The Breastfeeding Center is working with Native American communities to help implement the BFHI in hospitals serving Native Americans throughout the United States. We are also working with community groups like the Navajo Nation Breastfeeding Coalition to increase breastfeeding in locations beyond the hospital.
May 1st, 2014
This conference, to be held at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, in Albuquerque, NM, and funded by the Kellogg Foundation, will focus on promoting breastfeeding at birth through hospital policies and Baby-FriendlyTM designation, and will highlight the past, present, and future of maternity care and infant feeding in Indian Country.