We are celebrating in San Joaquin County! The latest California Breastfeeding Report from the UC Davis Human Lactation Center and the California WIC Association shows we are now in 39th place among California counties for exclusive breastfeeding in our hospitals. Yay! Beat the drums! Cue the trumpets!
Why would anybody celebrate coming in 39th? Because ever since the first report came out with 2004 data, we have been in 41st place among California’s counties for exclusive breastfeeding. The Breastfeeding Coalition of San Joaquin County, our six maternity hospitals and our three WIC programs, along with San Joaquin County Public Health Services, have been working tirelessly to improve breastfeeding support in our community, but so has everyone else in California. Our county breastfeeding rates have increased, but so have the state’s as a whole.
Don’t get me wrong, that is a good thing. But when you are toiling in the breastfeeding trenches, it can be discouraging if you are always looking up from below the state average. (Unfortunately, it’s not just in breastfeeding–Forbes magazine consistently ranks Stockton as one of the “most miserable cities in America.”) So when the new breastfeeding report showed we had jumped two spots in the rankings, we were ecstatic. We made it to 39th place! Take that, Forbes magazine! Our efforts are making a difference!
Mary Woelfel, MPH, IBCLC
Breastfeeding Coalition of San Joaquin County