One of our county 4-H leaders is employed at NorthBay Medical Center and she determined through discussions with the labor, delivery, and lactation nurses that there was a need in the community for free breast feeding covers to promote breastfeeding and its many benefits. In addition, North Bay hospital is very committed to increasing the incidents of breastfeeding to improve mother and infant well-being. The current rate of breast feeding in Solano County is 68.5% and in California is 60%, both of which are low. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, because it promotes natural antibodies that reduce infection, some research shows that breastfeeding may raise cognitive function, and it can lower the risk of childhood obesity, asthma, diabetes, Hodgkin’s disease, etc. Furthermore, data shows that embarrassment is a significant barrier to breastfeeding and that 57% of Americans are uncomfortable with breastfeeding in public. Breastfeeding is a cheaper alternative to formula, but studies show that lower income minorities are less likely to breastfeed. We realized that we needed to inform of the benefits of breastfeeding, and by doing so, increase interest in it while providing a tool that may help new mothers feel more comfortable breastfeeding in public.
How Will 4-H Help?
The Cuddle Me Close Coverups will be used in the Baby Friendly Designation Project at NorthBay Medical Center. These blankets will help promote infant health, decrease childhood obesity, and support parent/infant bonding. Each youth in Solano County 4-H will have a chance to learn all about this issue and contribute to the project. The blankets are designed to cover up the mom and infant during breastfeeding and cuddling. The Project leader will give presentations on the project at the Solano County Presentation Day, Project Skills Day, and Fasion Review. Members of the sewing project will make the cover-ups and deliveries will be made on a monthly basis.