Directory of Services and Resources to Support Breastfeeding Initiation, Exclusivity, and Longevity in the El Paso Texas Region

Tiffany Nichelle Butler, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

Human milk is recognized as the ideal food for infants; however, in order for human milk to get to the infants, breastfeeding requires the support of the healthcare system. Among infants born in 2015 in United States, 4 out of 5 started to breastfeed and despite of this high rate, only 22% of mothers exclusively breastfed for 6 months. The decisions to breastfeed are influenced by multiple factors including breastfeeding education and support, hospital practices, and participating in tailored education programs. The Office of the Surgeon General has identified the need for healthcare systems to “guarantee continuity of skilled support for lactation between hospitals and healthcare settings in the community.” Community resources that support breastfeeding include Lactation Rooms (dedicated private space for breastfeeding), Baby Cafes (licensed sites offering support from trained health professionals), and the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) Program, a federally funded program offering breastfeeding education from trained professionals. The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) provides certification for professionals with specialized knowledge in lactation science. Evidence shows that tailored programs and peer support increase initiation and length of breastfeeding. A coordinated effort that supports breastfeeding along the U.S.-Mexico border region is the Binational Breastfeeding Coalition (BBC), a consortium of health professionals formed in 2013 whose overall goal is for all infants born along the U.S.-Mexico border to be breastfed by the year 2020. Specific Aim: Prepare a directory of breastfeeding and lactation resources available in El Paso, Texas at the request of the BBC. Methods were completed by conducing a literature review was conducted to identify the number of Lactation Rooms, Baby Cafes and IBLCE certified lactation consultants in El Paso, Texas. Two products were developed. First, the resource information was organized and presented in a directory of lactation resources; information from the directory was then summarized and presented in a fact sheet. The members of the BBC provided feedback on the content and organization of the directory and fact sheet. Results: Currently, there are two Lactation Rooms available at El Paso International Airport; three Lactations Rooms for employees and students at The University of Texas at El Paso; and two Baby Cafes located at local hospitals. There are eight IBLCE certified lactations specialists in El Paso Texas. Conclusion: This community-engaged project revealed that the number of organizations providing either a private space for lactation or tailored breastfeeding education is very limited for the population of El Paso, Texas. Moreover, the number of IBLCE certified lactation specialists is very small for a city of 144,831 potential mothers with a ratio of 1:18,103 mothers for every lactation specialist. Increasing the number of Lactation Rooms, Baby Cafes, and the number of trained lactation consultants will support continuity of breastfeeding between hospitals and healthcare settings in the community, and would be expected to increase the length of breastfeeding by provide critical support. With breastmilk being the ideal food for infants, increasing breast-feeding practices would also be conducive to improving the health and well-being of women, infants, children, and families in the border region and increasing overall quality of life.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Butler, Tiffany Nichelle, "Directory of Services and Resources to Support Breastfeeding Initiation, Exclusivity, and Longevity in the El Paso Texas Region" (2019). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI22622305.
https://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI22622305

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