Michigan Breastfeeding Plan
MDHHS is pleased to announce a step toward improving breastfeeding rates in Michigan by releasing The Michigan Breastfeeding Plan: State Strategies To Advance Breastfeeding Practice 2021-2024. This plan highlights how breastfeeding is crucial at each of the perinatal phases and outlines strategies for partners to consider and MDHHS commitments.
The strategies are organized into three perinatal phases: before pregnancy (preconception), during pregnancy (prenatal), and after pregnancy (postpartum). Each strategy in The Breastfeeding Plan will be implemented in a way that: makes the evidence around health inequities and its sources transparent, explores the root causes of health inequities - race, class, and gender oppression- and how to address them, and discusses and responds to the values and needs of the community.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for about six months, with continued breastfeeding alongside complementary foods for at least one year. There are two measures used to monitor breastfeeding. Initiation describes whether a baby was ever breastfed, and duration describes how long a baby was breastfed. Michigan's Breastfeeding Plan sets goals for initiation and 3-month duration because these are the measures that have the most reliable data for Michigan. This data comes from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System.
The Michigan Breastfeeding Plan is guided by the vision of removing barriers, advancing equity, and promoting breastfeeding as essential for infant nutrition, social emotional health, and chronic disease prevention by ensuring all families have the opportunity to breastfeed for as long as they choose. While this document uses the word breastfeeding, we recognize the limitations of this word in describing the experience of providing human milk for transgender and non-binary individuals. Alternatives to this word include chestfeeding, nursing, or lactation.
The Breastfeeding Plan sets the common agenda necessary for a collaborative approach to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding in Michigan. The strategies of the Breastfeeding Plan contribute to Michigan's larger goals of ensuring that all families can attain health potential and align with the strategies of the Mother Infant Health & Equity Improvement Plan of Zero preventable deaths and Zero health disparities.
MDHHS would like to thank the statewide partners who provided invaluable input on the plan through a statewide survey and public comment period. Click here to access a PDF version of the Plan.