Why It Matters

For years, women have been bombarded with overly simplistic messaging about the importance of breastfeeding. Studies prove that breast milk is the optimal first food and has been proven to reduce the risk of asthma, upper respiratory infections, ear infections and childhood obesity. Yet, placing the burden of responsibility solely on women is unfair and unrealistic. A woman should have more support beyond her own personal resolve to give her infant the best first food possible. And while recent efforts to level the playing field in hospitals so that all mothers can have informed decision making around their first food choice are noteworthy, if a woman returns home after a short hospital stay to a community that is not supportive, she is still less likely to be successful at breastfeeding. It is time for communities to become stakeholders in the health of their youngest and most vulnerable residents. It is time for every community to be First Food Friendly—a place where all babies thrive and all mothers are fully supported.