Entries for February 2005

decisions, decisions

I've decided to move the NEOBEAN site off the Blog@Case server because I like having the capability to give other people NEOBEAN accounts so they can maintain their own blogs at the site that Norm Roulet set up for me, even if they are not affiliated with Case. This summer, I will probably move all my teaching blogging over to this blog, but continue to maintain my livejournal for my thoughts on research and community engagement (or I may move those categories of blogging over to my main REALNEO blog).

Maintaining multiple blogs is a whole new world for me... it has been interesting to learn about and experiment with the benefits and drawbacks of the different platforms (Livejournal, Movable Type, and Drupal).

What do we know about the factors that influence breastfeeding initiation and the duration of exclusive breastfeeding?

One of the projects we would like to collaborate with other participants in NEOBEAN on is a review of existing literature on this topic. What we do know so far is that rates of breastfeeding initiation are intertwined with rates of full-term birth (since some premature infants have not yet developed their suck reflex at birth) and with the education level and age of the mother. Rates of exclusive breastfeeding are connected with employment status of the mother, WIC status, and other factors. For these reasons, we see it as especially important to reach out to pregnant women who are younger, less educated, receiving less prenatal care, and otherwise lacking in financial resources.

Some of the strongest predictors of breastfeeding initiation and willingness to continue breastfeeding are the supportiveness of key supporters of the new mother, including her baby's father and other key supports, such as her childcare providers. For this reason, we see it as especially important to reach out not just to pregnant women, but also to their partners and husbands, and to the future grandparents and childcare providers, so that they can learn how to be supportive.

The Status of Breastfeeding in NEOhio

The latest research from the Centers for Disease Control shows that in Cuyahoga County, only 55% of infants are ever breastfed, and only 25% continue to be breastfed at 6 months of age, which is below the average rates in other parts of the country, and far below the target rates that were set for 2010 by the Department of Health and Human Services Blueprint for Action.

See this entry in the Frequently Asked Questions category for additional information.

If we wish to invest in our children's health, we must not accept this status quo. A team of researchers from the Weatherhead School of Management is working to create a learning and advocacy network to support breastfeeding in Northeast Ohio. Learn more at the NorthEast Ohio Breastfeeding Education and Advocacy Network (NEOBEAN).