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As part of a long term strategy to have more California hospitals become Baby Friendly, or at least adopt breastfeeding policies, California WIC Association (CWA) is sponsoring SB 502(Pavley and deLeon), the Hospital Infant Feeding Act.

The bill requires all general acute care and special hospitals, with a perinatal unit, to have an infant feeding policy and to clearly post that policy in the perinatal unit or on the hospital’s Web site. The bill would also require that the infant feeding policy be routinely communicated to perinatal unit staff, and that the infant feeding policy apply to all infants in a perinatal unit.

Important language in the bill states the infant feeding policy will use the guidelines of Baby Friendly Hospitals, or the California Model Hospital Policies, an alternative to Baby Friendly. Guidelines for formula supplementation and proper bottle feeding is allowed in the policy, as is now required for Baby Friendly Hospitals, when preferred by the mother, or for medical indication.

An excellent toolkit is available to assist hospitals to implement breastfeeding policies along with many other resources from the California Department of Public Health.

The bill has passed the state Senate and is working its way through the Assembly. It will be heard in Assembly Appropriations on August 17. To subscribe to the bill, write a letter of support, or learn more, visit the CWA website.

Be sure to check out this week’s release of The Joint Commission Speak Up breastfeeding campaign, and the many reports from the CDC, including the mPINC Survey, the 2011 Breastfeeding Report Card, and the most recent Vital Signs. Use these documents for advocating for hospital breastfeeding policies!


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