The second section of The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding focuses on Communities, calling for four specific actions:
- Action 3. Strengthen programs that provide mother-to-mother support and peer counseling.
- Action 4. Use community-based organizations to promote and support breastfeeding.
- Action 5. Create a national campaign to promote breastfeeding.
- Action 6. Ensure that the marketing of infant formula is conducted in a way that minimizes its negative impacts on exclusive breastfeeding.
"Communities" excerpt from Executive Summary: The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding:
A mother’s ability to begin and to continue breastfeeding can be influenced by a host of community factors. The communities where we live, work, and play: urban, rural, neighborhoods, and apartment buildings are where we feel most comfortable. Mothers can learn about breastfeeding in prenatal classes and by discussing their interest in breastfeeding with a variety of people. In addition, women can turn to other mothers in their community, whether they are family, friends, or women they have met through mother-to-mother support groups, as well as women who are knowledgeable and have previous experience with breastfeeding. Community-based groups should include family members such as fathers and grandmothers in education and support programs for breastfeeding. Community-based support groups such as La Leche League and programs such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s WIC program can expand the support that women ideally have received in the hospital and help extend the duration of breastfeeding.
Marketing of infant formula within communities is another influence on breastfeeding. Research indicates that advertising infant formula can deter exclusive breastfeeding and the effect may be stronger among women who do not have well-defined goals for breastfeeding.