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Improving Maternity Care for Breastfeeding Mothers and Infants

In the United States, nearly all infants are born in a hospital or birth center. The policies and practices in these facilities can impact mothers who want to breastfeed. The WHO/UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) outlines Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding (Ten Steps) that have been shown to support breastfeeding mothers and infants. Hospitals can achieve the Baby-Friendly designation following an external evaluation that verifies the hospital has fully implemented the Ten Steps. The BFHI, which is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics,1 encourages and recognizes hospitals and birth centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and infants. To improve maternity care practices related to breastfeeding, CDC monitors these maternity care practices and funds programs to improve these practices.

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Early Care and Education (ECE)

Most young children spend time in care outside of their home, making the Early Care and Education (ECE) setting one of the best places to reach young children with obesity prevention efforts. The use of ECE facilities – including child care centers, day care homes, Head Start programs, preschool and pre-kindergarten programs – has become the norm in the U.S. Improving child care and early education facility environments may directly impact what children consume and how active they are, as well as help them develop a foundation of healthy habits for life.

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