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Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity: Breastfeeding Initiatives

Human milk feeding alone is the ideal form of nutrition from birth. Breastfeeding provides a range of benefits for infant growth, immunity, and development. It can also improve the health of the lactating person. Human milk feeding may protect both the infant and lactating person against a range of chronic diseases, like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Breastfeeding contributes to economic benefits for families, health care systems, workplaces, and communities. While breastfeeding rates overall are fairly high, there are large disparities between different groups. There is also much opportunity to improve breastfeeding duration and exclusivity.

Policies, systems, and environments that support continued lactation are essential to help families meet their infant feeding goals. Below are some examples of resources to help improve and expand lactation support in a variety of settings.

Wisconsin resources and publications


Mother breastfeeding her baby

This resource outlines ten basic steps to create a child care program that supports families who choose to provide human milk. It is a key resource for the Wisconsin Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care initiative, a recognition program for group and family child care providers that offers training, tools, and additional support. Local health agencies or coalitions interested in working with child care programs in their community should reach out to for assistance.

A baby is being breastfed at a hospital with a nurse.

Hospitals and health systems play a major role in helping families prepare for birth and lactation and in making sure they establish a strong foundation for ongoing lactation support. Breastfeeding in Wisconsin: How Hospital Actions Can Affect Breastfeeding (2018) highlights maternity care practices that support breastfeeding, data from Wisconsin hospitals, and opportunities for improvement. The document references data from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) survey, which assesses policies and practices that affect how babies are fed. Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) COVID-19 Supplemental Survey: Wisconsin Hospitals' Breastfeeding Practices and Support, P-03125 (2021) describes how some of these practices changed during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An adult on a laptop with a breast pump on the desk

Worksites and employers can support breastfeeding families by offering accommodations and benefits to employees preparing for and returning from parental leave. The Wisconsin Breastfeeding Coalition has helpful resources and links to more information for both employers and local agencies or coalitions interested in assisting worksites in their community. Multiple federal laws provide protection and require lactation accommodations for most employees to express milk at work.

Related efforts

The Division of Public Health supports lactation and human milk feeding through a variety of programs. Visit the Wisconsin WIC Program’s Breastfeeding Support page and the Maternal and Child Health Program page for more information.

More general breastfeeding information can be found on the Breastfeeding Resources page.

Last revised January 31, 2023