California Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill, sponsored by state Senators Fran Pavley (D-Santa Monica), and Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), that will mandate that hospitals develop policies to promote breastfeeding among new mothers. The law will go into effect January 2014.

Senator de León stated, “In my district with high rates of poverty, breast-feeding represents a low-cost, low-tech strategy for improved health outcomes and reduced health disparities,” De León said.

According to the California women Infants Children Association, while approximately 90 percent of women intend to breast feed prior to giving birth, only 50 percent leave the hospital breast feeding exclusively. In addition to nourishing infants and newborns, breast milk also protects them from neonatal disease and stunted growth. Evidence has shown that if infants were exclusively breastfed for 6 months up until one year, that there could be a 13 percent decrease in deaths of children under five.

Santa Cruz Sentinel 10/11/11; National Partnership for Women and Families 10/12/11

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