Advocacy: What You Can Do
Public policy strongly influences breastfeeding success
Too many women struggle with barriers to breastfeeding success. These obstacles can be addressed through policies, legislation, and regulations.
10 things you can do
- Write to insurance companies about coverage of breastfeeding support and supplies.
- Give Hospitals and Clinics feedback on how breastfeeding was or was not supported.
- Have direct conversations with employers.
- Breastfeed in public.
- Plan and attend breastfeeding advocacy events in your neighborhood.
- If you are a breastfeeding professional, mentor diverse groups of community members as they work towards becoming breastfeeding leaders.
- Participate in World Breastfeeding Week events or create your own!
- Participate in Black Breastfeeding Week events or create your own!
- Support new moms in your friend and family circle by listening, providing food, cleaning house, or helping them to connect with breastfeeding support systems. Plan a “mom shower” for after the baby comes to help create a support system for mom.
- Review a Massachusetts business or workplace [here] when you see positive breastfeeding support and areas for improvement.
We need you to advocate for breastfeeding families
Let your voice be heard! It is very important that our elected officials, state health departments, hospital executives, employers, and insurers are made aware of the need for quality and equitable breastfeeding support. Visit [Contact Your Local Officials] page for more information.
Show off Our Breastfeeding Swag
Visit our online store to purchase cool items with the MBC logo and slogan, “Public Health Begins with Breastfeeding.” Proceeds support the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition and advocacy in the state of Massachusetts and beyond!
Get your license to breastfeed
Massachusetts law gives you the right to breastfeed in most public places. If anyone gives you trouble, you can use our License to Breastfeed cards to set them straight. Copies of the license are available for free download or for purchase.
Speak out now on key breastfeeding issues
- Advocate for improved maternity leave
Paid maternity leave allows mothers to stay home longer, helping to foster breastfeeding and establish a good milk supply.
- Support public health funding
The state needs funding for public health efforts to increase breastfeeding rates, including efforts to make all maternity hospitals Baby Friendly. See [About the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative] for more information.
- Learn about racial and geographic differences in maternity care and breastfeeding
The United States has more pregnancy-related deaths than most other developed nations. When U.S. mortality rates are further investigated, it can be found that black, American Indian, and Alaskan Native women die at a rate that ranges from two to four times the rate of their white counterparts. Women of color tend to have poorer access to high quality reproductive health information and services. Maternal mortality ratios also vary significantly by socioeconomic status and geography.
Breastfeeding initiation rates and rates of continued breastfeeding at six months are substantially different between non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic white infants. Interventions to address barriers experienced disproportionately by black mothers, including earlier return to work, inadequate receipt of breastfeeding information from providers, and lack of access to professional breastfeeding support are needed. Source: Maternal Health Task Force, Boston, MA; CDC
Learn what language works best for breastfeeding advocacy, whether writing letters or talking to peers and colleagues. For more Information:
Effective Language for Breastfeeding Advocacy
Massachusetts Medical Society’s Breastfeeding Resolution
For more Advocacy Information:
MomsRising – a great advocacy resource for many topics involving mothers and children
Breastfeeding.com – a breastfeeding advocacy site
National Conference of State Legislatures: – summarizes current state breastfeeding legislation with link to the text of each bill
National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy (NABA) – looks in depth at what and how to advocate for breastfeeding.