Legislature Encourages Hospitals to Promote Breastfeeding
Monday, April 14th, 2014 @ 7:16PM
Contact: Margaret Sharpe, 465-3743
Baby friendly designation will result in positive health, social and fiscal impacts in Alaska
Monday, April 14, 2014, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska Legislature today, with unanimous passage in the Senate, passed House Concurrent Resolution 18, by Representative Shelley Hughes, recognizing the substantial benefits of breastfeeding and encouraging local hospitals and birthing centers to attain the Baby-Friendly Hospital Designation by implementing the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding program.
“I initially hesitated carrying this resolution forward because I thought it was merely feel-good fluff, but when I reviewed the documented research conducted over decades, I realized it was not,” Hughes, R-Palmer, said. “The facts spoke for themselves; promoting breastfeeding is a good thing for Alaska.
“Increased breastfeeding will pay out benefits in Alaska: not only extraordinary physical and mental health improvements for mom and baby, but also economical and societal benefits for Alaska,” Hughes said. “Without a penny of state spending, we can help address obesity, reduce diabetes, and decrease the occurrences of breast and ovarian cancers. At the same time, we can realize reduced child abuse and neglect, anti-social behavior, incarceration and sex-trafficking, all because of the simple act of breastfeeding and the natural bonding that occurs. Breastfeeding has even been shown to improve I.Q. scores of children. Add to all these great benefits the fact that increased breastfeeding will save Alaska millions in the long term – less state dollars toward Medicaid and more money in families’ pockets due to lower medical costs and less spending on formula.
“As a legislature forever fond of natural resource development, it’s time to endorse the extraction of this God-given, abundant and renewable natural resource,” Hughes said.
The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding were developed by a team of experts and consist of evidence-based practices that have been shown to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration. More information on the program can be found at www.babyfriendlyusa.org.
HCR 18 passed the House on March 24, 2014.
# # #