Brookings supports breastfeeding: using public deliberation as a community-engaged approach to dissemination of research
Empirical evidence demonstrates myriad benefits of breastfeeding for mother and child, along with benefits to businesses that support breastfeeding. Federal and state legislation requires workplace support for pumping and provides protections for public breastfeeding. Yet, many are unaware of these laws, and thus, support systems remain underdeveloped. We used a community-based approach to spread awareness about the evidence-based benefits of breastfeeding and breastfeeding support. We worked to improve breastfeeding support at the local hospital, among local employers, and throughout the broader community. Our coalition representing the hospital, the chamber of commerce, the university, and local lactation consultants used a public deliberation model for dissemination. We held focus groups, hosted a public conversation, spoke to local organizations, and promoted these efforts through local media. The hospital achieved Baby-Friendly status and opened a Baby Cafe. Breastfeeding support in the community improved through policies, designated pumping spaces, and signage that supports public breastfeeding at local businesses. Community awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and breastfeeding support increased; the breastfeeding support coalition remains active. The public deliberation process for dissemination engaged the community with evidence-based promotion of breastfeeding support, increased agency, and produced sustainable results tailored to the community’s unique needs.
Anderson J, Kuehl RA, Mehltretter Drury SA, et al. Brookings supports breastfeeding: using public deliberation as a community-engaged approach to dissemination of research. Translational behavioral medicine. 2017.