ICEA Signed the USBC’s Letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and the Respective Subcommittees on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies Urging a Funding Increase From $8 Million to $13 Million to CDC Hospital & Continuity of Care Breastfeeding Support in Fiscal Year 2020

Dear Senators Shelby, Leahy, Blunt, and Murray; and Representatives Lowey, Granger, DeLauro, and Cole,

Preventive health care measures are a proven and effective strategy for improving health outcomes while also reducing health care costs. Breastfeeding is routinely identified as one of the most effective means for preventing disease.

Breastfeeding provides a range of economic and environmental benefits for society. A 2016 study of both maternal and pediatric health outcomes and associated costs based on 2014 breastfeeding rates showed that, if 90% of infants were breastfed according to medical recommendations, 2,600 maternal and child deaths, $2.4 billion in medical costs, and $10.8 billion in costs of premature death would be prevented, annually(i).

Given the increasing importance of prevention and the ambitious national health goals currently being defined through the Healthy People 2030 initiative, we, the undersigned organizations, urge Congress to support those goals by directing $13 million to Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) Hospital & Continuity of Care Breastfeeding Support in Fiscal Year 2020.

This investment continues and builds upon multi-year, multi-pronged initiatives to: provide technical assistance through collaborative partnerships between organizations assisting hospitals in implementing evidence-based practice improvements; combine health care provider education with policy, systems and environmental (PSE) approaches to strengthen continuity of care; and align activities with the aim of increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration rates and eliminating/decreasing inequities in breastfeeding support. This investment bolsters progress to date, and reinforces multi-sector collaboration to build a public health infrastructure, as described in The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding.

Evidence and Benefits of Breastfeeding
We join the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and leading medical organizations in recommending that infants be exclusively breastfed for six months and continue to breastfeed for the first year of life and as long afterwards as mutually desired by mother and infant. Our nation’s breastfeeding rates continue to fall far short of medical recommendations. While 83.2 percent of babies born in the United States start out breastfeeding, six in ten breastfeeding mothers stop earlier than they intend. By six months of age, only 24.9 percent of U.S. infants are exclusively breastfed (ii).

Breastfeeding is a proven primary prevention strategy, building a foundation for life-long health and wellness(iii). The evidence for the value of breastfeeding to children’s and women’s health is scientific, solid, and continually being reaffirmed by new research. Compared with formula-fed infants, those who are breastfed have a reduced risk of ear, skin, stomach, and respiratory infections; diarrhea; sudden infant death syndrome; and necrotizing enterocolitis. In the longer term, breastfed children have a reduced risk of obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes, asthma, and childhood leukemia. Women who breastfed their children have a reduced long-term risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and breast and ovarian cancers. A new study links evidence-based hospital and continuity of care policies and practices to reducing stark racial disparities in breastfeeding, and improving overall breastfeeding rates (iv).

Federal Funding in Breastfeeding Yields Results
Federal funding for breastfeeding initiatives has been shown to provide a substantial and immediate return on investment. Since funding was first directed to support breastfeeding programs in FY2012, breastfeeding initiation has increased from 76.9 percent of infants born in 2012 to 83.2 percent of infants born in 2015, with exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months increasing from 16.3 percent to 24.9 percent.ii The CDC collects data on maternity care practices and policies related to infant feeding through the Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) Survey. The impact of this investment already has been substantial: the percentage of U.S. hospitals implementing a majority of the recommended steps has increased from about 29 percent in 2007 to 62 percent in 2015 (v).

We urge that at least $13 million be directed in FY2020 for the CDC Hospital & Continuity of Care Breastfeeding Support, to facilitate ongoing, critical efforts to build a strong public health infrastructure of breastfeeding support.

Given the consistent and well-documented health, economic, and environmental benefits of breastfeeding, this is an investment that will continue to produce measurable dividends across the country and many times over for families, employers, and the government.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. For further information or if you have any
questions, please contact Amelia Psmythe, Interim Executive Director at the United States
Breastfeeding Committee, at 773.359.1549 x23 or


  • International, National, and Tribal
    1,000 Days
    A Better Balance
    Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine
    Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
    American Academy of Pediatrics
    American Association of Birth Centers
    American Public Health Association
    Association of Maternal & Child Health
    Association of State Public Health
    Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric
    and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN)
    Attachment Parenting International
    Baby Café USA
    Baby-Friendly USA, Inc.
    Breastfeeding USA
    ChangeLab Solutions
    Childbirth and Postpartum Professionals
    Every Mother, Inc.
    Healthy Children Project, Inc.
    HealthConnect One
    Human Milk Banking Association of North
    Institute for the Advancement of
    Breastfeeding and Lactation Education
    International Board of Lactation Consultant
    Examiners® (IBLCE®)
    International Childbirth Education
    Association (ICEA)
    La Leche League Alliance for Breastfeeding
    La Leche League USA
    Lamaze International
    Milk of the Heart Inc.
    National Association of Pediatric Nurse
    National Association of Professional and
    Peer Lactation Supporters of Color
    National WIC Association
    Nursing Mothers Counsel, Inc.
    United State Breastfeeding Committee
  • Regional, State, and Local Organizations:
    The Alabama Breastfeeding Committee
    Alaska Breastfeeding Coalition
    Alimentación Segura Infantil
    Baby And Me Lactation Services
    Breastfeeding Coalition of Delaware
    Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington
    California Breastfeeding Coalition
    Centro Pediatrico de Lactancia y Crianzs
    Coalition of Oklahoma Breastfeeding
    Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition
    Denver WIC
    District of Columbia Breastfeeding Coalition
    Durham’s Baby Cafe
    Florida West Coast Breastfeeding Taskforce
    Gender Justice
    Indiana Breastfeeding Coalition
    Kansas Action for Children
    Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition
    Kentuckiana Lactation Improvement
    The Lactation Connection
    Lactation Consultants of Metro Saint Louis
    Lactation Improvement Network of
    Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition
    Maryland Breastfeeding Coalition
    Michigan Breastfeeding Network
    Minnesota Breastfeeding Coalition
    MilkWorks, Lincoln & Omaha, Nebraska
    Missouri Breastfeeding Coalition
    Natural Choice Birth & Breastfeeding LLC
    New Hampshire Breastfeeding Task Force
    New Jersey Breastfeeding Coalition, Inc.
    New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force
    New York Statewide Breastfeeding Coalition
    North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition
    Northern Nevada Breastfeeding Coalition
    Nursing Mothers Counsel, Inc.
    Nurture Lactation Support
    NYC Breastfeeding Leadership Council, Inc.
    PathWays PA
    Precious Jewels Moms Ministries
    Pretty Mama Breastfeeding LLC
    Saline County (MO) Breastfeeding Coalition
    Southern Nevada Breastfeeding Coalition
    Texas Pediatric Society
    Tri-County Breastfeeding Coalition
    Vermont Breastfeeding Network
    Vermont Lactation Consultant Association,
    West Virginia Breastfeeding Alliance
    Wisconsin Breastfeeding Coalition

i Bartick MC, Schwarz EB, Green BD, et al. Suboptimal breastfeeding in the United States: Maternal and pediatric health outcomes and costs. Maternal & Child Nutrition. 2016;13(1). doi:10.1111/mcn.12366.

ii Breastfeeding Report Card | Breastfeeding | CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed March 15, 2019

iii Making the decision to breastfeed. Updated March 14, 2019. Accessed March 15, 2019.

iv Merewood A, Bugg K, Burnham L, et al. Addressing Racial Inequities in Breastfeeding in the Southern United States. Pediatrics. 2019;143(2). doi:10.1542/peds.2018-1897.

v Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) Survey | Breastfeeding | CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed March 15, 2019.