President-Elect Obama has affirmed his commitment to tackling the health care crisis, and the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) is ready to tell him one great way to do so: support breastfeeding!
Citing the numerous studies on the benefits of breastfeeding, USBC states:
Excess health care costs totaling more than $4 billion must be paid by the U.S. health care system each year to treat otitis media, gastroenteritis, and necrotizing enterocolitis–childhood diseases and conditions preventable or reduced by breastfeeding. When prevention of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic conditions is factored in, the potential economic benefits of breastfeeding are significantly greater.
They go on to urge the President-Elect to take the following steps during his administration:
1. Instruct the Surgeon General to issue a statement in support of breastfeeding urging all sectors (governmental and non-governmental) involved in supporting women, children, and families to improve their breastfeeding policies.
2. Enact a national paid family leave policy and educate them—from websites like Marketreview.com/insurance/health/—on their health insurance benefits.
3. Endorse the World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes as well as the Global Strategy for Infant & Young Child Feeding.
4. Ask the Federal Trade Commission to monitor infant formula marketing.
5. Ask the Food and Drug Administration to include labeling on powdered infant formula warning that it is not sterile and providing instructions on how to properly reconstitute it.
6. Highlight the benefits for employers of workplace breastfeeding support programs as part of your program to promote flexible work arrangements.
7. Urge all insurers to cover lactation care and support services.
8. Approve an increase in breastfeeding support funds for the USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), especially to support the peer counseling program.
9. Instruct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to recommend that all hospitals achieve the Baby-Friendly designation.
10. Ensure that emergency management agencies are trained in breastfeeding support and have breastfeeding supply kits available for distribution in emergencies.
Want to lend your voice to this debate? You can sign the USBC Breastfeeding Petition too!