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Take Action Today
If you want to take action NOW to support, advocate and educate on the benefits of breastfeeding in your own workplace or community, here are some ideas:
With hospitals or health professionals
- Find out if your local hospital is one of the 2600 facilities that received a March 2012 letter which begins, "We strongly urge you to immediately discontinue the distribution of commercial infant formula manufacturer discharge bags in your facility..." and then find out how you can support this Public Citizen campaign to keep infant formula marketing out of your facility for good!
- If you work in a hospital, please take a moment to review (and share!) these Maternity Care Practices which Make a Difference for Breastfeeding - and these Provider Resources from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Illinois Chapter.
- If you are satisfied or you are not satisfied with your personal breastfeeding experience while in the hospital, please let the hospital administration know. Encourage others to do the same. The Illinois State Breastfeeding Task Force offers sample letters for those who are pleased or disappointed.
- Ask questions of your healthcare provider! Encourage others to ask questions, such as:
1. What kind of lactation support do you provide, in the hospital and afterwards?
2. What are the breastfeeding policies?
3. Has this hospital adopted any Baby Friendly Steps?
- Check out the Illinois Hospital Report Card to see how your hospital rates in breastfeeding support and caesarean rates, and encourage others to do the same. To check breastfeeding rates for a single hospital, click on the "Safety" tab for that hospital's report card.
Within state or local government
- Educate state lawmakers about breastfeeding and promote reimbursement of breastfeeding support through SR170, which was adopted May 12, 2011 in the Illinois State Senate!
Visit the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition to find your Senator and his/her contact information. You can also contact Kathy Chan at IMCHC for more information or to report any feedback you receive.
- Familiarize yourself with the Illinois Breastfeeding Laws, and inform mothers about their breastfeeding rights!
- Hospital Infant Feeding Act (Effective January 1, 2013)
- Public Act 094-0391: Exempts nursing mothers from jury service (Effective Jan 1, 2006)
- Public Act 093-0942: The Right to Breastfeed Act (Effective 2004)
- Public Act 92-0068: Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act (Effective 2001)
- Breastfeeding is Not Indecency (Effective 1995)
To request Illinois law posters and law cards, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Talk to your local politicians! Ask them to support mothers and babies through programs and bills that include breastfeeding! In particular, ask them to prioritize funding for breastfeeding in populations with the highest disparities, including African-American and low-income communities.
For community-based and faith-based organizations
- Encourage your members to become breastfeeding peer counselors. Peer counselor training is often available through WIC and possibly through other organizations in your community.
- Educate employers about Illinois Breastfeeding Laws, and the importance of lactation support programs. Workplace resources are available through the U.S. Office on Women's Health.
For more information, or to share what happened when you took action, please contact us!
Illinois Hospital Report Card - now includes breastfeeding rates!State of Illinois' Breastfeeding Proclamation
Communities Putting Prevention to Work - Cook County obesity initiative which includes breastfeeding support
Healthy Places - Chicago obesity initiative which includes breastfeeding support
Regulators let breast milk compete with formula in hospitals - Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ 91.5 FM) - May 5, 2011
Breast-feeding disparities sharp in Chicago-area hospitals - Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ 91.5 FM) - March 14, 2011