In January 2009, MOMS Orange County introduced the Breastfeeding Education & Support Program through funding from the St. Joseph Health System Foundation. In addition to extensive staff training on breastfeeding and client education during home visits, a bi-lingual Breastfeeding Support Coordinator teaches breastfeeding classes and facilitates breastfeeding support groups, provides telephone consultation and offers one-on-one guidance for mothers experiencing breastfeeding issues.
Breastfeeding education and support have always been an integral component of MOMS Orange County’s curriculum. The most recent targeted breastfeeding efforts are a result of MOMS Orange County’s 2007-2009 Strategic Planning process in which its Board of Directors identified breastfeeding as a priority focus area and set a goal to increase in-home education and support for breastfeeding mothers.
According to the 15th Annual Report on the Conditions of Children, Orange County currently ranks 42nd in the rate of women exclusively breastfeeding upon discharge (among the 50 counties in California). The addition of the Breastfeeding Coordinator has resulted in significant improvements in the breastfeeding rates among MOMS Orange County clients. In the last year, 92% of MOMS Orange County clients are breastfeeding their babies upon discharge from the hospital (with a 6% increase from 2008 in the rate of exclusive breastfeeding at discharge from the hospital). MOMS Orange County has found that the sooner its clients are informed in their pregnancy about the benefits of breastfeeding, the greater the effects of MOMS Orange County’s breastfeeding education and support and subsequently, a growing baby receiving everything it needs through exclusive breastfeeding.