Partners of the Plan News:

State Provides Resources and Recognition to Support Breastfeeding

The Washington State Department of Health, in partnership with WithinReach and the Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington, currently provides resources to help organizations support breastfeeding. Soon, the Department of Health will also provide recognition to institutions and organizations that make policy and environmental changes to support breastfeeding women and their babies. By participating in the Washington Steps Up for Breastfeeding Success program, hospitals, community health clinics, child care centers and worksites can promote their facility as a leader in evidence-based care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. A Washington Steps Up designation will recognize organizations that take steps to support breastfeeding. These steps are backed by research, and recognized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as impacting breastfeeding rates. (Get more information on the CDC program.)

The outreach effort will reach four different sectors, with the overall aim of strengthening the continuum of care for breastfeeding families. Using existing resources, the partners will develop a meaningful recognition program with contractors and stakeholders. The program is based on demonstrated successes in other states (AZ, TX, NC, and MA) that have instituted recognition programs.

Washington Steps Up! focuses on four areas:

  1. Washington Steps Up! Breastfeeding Friendly Hospital targets breastfeeding-supportive maternity care practices. This is currently being implemented through a learning collaborative initiative. Upon completion, hospitals can apply for Washington Steps Up recognition.
  2. Washington Steps Up! Breastfeeding Friendly Health Clinic targets health care clinics to assure that parents get consistent, evidence-based education and support. This is currently being implemented through a training program initiative. Upon completion, community health clinics and providers can apply for recognition.
  3. Washington Steps Up! Breastfeeding Friendly Employer provides support for employers to meet federal and state laws protecting breastfeeding.
  4. Washington Steps Up! Ten Steps to a Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Facility would show child care providers how they can support breastfeeding. This initiative is still in planning stages.




Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington

Plan Objectives Addressed

Target Audience

Hospitals and health care providers



For More Information:
  • Sabine Meuse, Nutrition Coordinator, Healthy Eating Active Living Program, WA Department of Health, 360-236-3629