Supporting and Promoting Breastfeeding, Chestfeeding and Lactation in Health Care Settings

Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, with continued breastfeeding through 1 year or longer, is recommended because of the known health benefits for the infant and birth parent, as well as population health and economic benefits to the greater society.  In 2014, as part of the rollout of the New York State Prevention Agenda, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) worked with the UAlbany Center for Public Health Continuing Education to develop a series of presentations on promoting breastfeeding in prenatal, hospital and postpartum health care settings. While awareness and knowledge of breastfeeding benefits and breastfeeding rates have increased, educational efforts are not always culturally relevant or inclusive. Expert recommendations have changed. Hospital and outpatient policies, maternity care practices and lactation support vary across New York. Significant disparities persist in breastfeeding initiation, exclusivity and duration by race/ethnicity, educational attainment, income, insurance status and geography.

The NYSDOH worked with UAlbany in 2021-2022 to update and revise these webinars and provide continuing education credits for viewers. This four-part webinar series is now available for on-demand viewing.

Inclusive Language Statement
Lactation professionals, experts and advocates are actively discussing ways to promote diversity, inclusion and equity in promoting and supporting infant human milk feeding. There is no consensus on the best way to change language or terminology. The appropriate use of gender- or sex-based language differs by the purpose, context, or audience, and whether one is discussing research findings, making recommendations about a population, or providing one-on-one counseling with a patient or client.

These webinars strive to use culturally appropriate, inclusive language when discussing human milk feeding. During this transition period, the planners and speakers opted to use the terms breastfeeding, chestfeeding and lactation to recognize diversity in gender and gender identity and to support diversity and inclusion.

The overarching goals for this webinar series are to:

  1. Increase the knowledge and skills of perinatal care providers and other professionals about breastfeeding/chestfeeding and feeding human milk.
  2. Improve clinical, teaching and counseling skills to support pregnant and lactating persons to successfully breastfeed/chestfeed or feed their infant human milk.
  3. Increase understanding and implementation of policies and practices consistent with the Ten Steps for Successful Breastfeeding in Hospitals or Birthing Centers.
  4. Increase prevalence, duration and exclusivity of human milk feeding through 6 months.