HCR 18: Encouraging hospitals and birthing facilities in the state to participate in the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative and to support breastfeeding; and recognizing the benefits of breastfeeding.

00 HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 18 01 Encouraging hospitals and birthing facilities in the state to participate in the Baby- 02 Friendly Hospital Initiative and to support breastfeeding; and recognizing the benefits 03 of breastfeeding. 04 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 05 WHEREAS breastfeeding provides unique health benefits to babies, including 06 nutrients that support infant brain development and lower rates of illness and disease; and 07 WHEREAS numerous studies demonstrate that children who have been breastfed 08 have fewer and less serious illnesses than children who have not been breastfed; and 09 WHEREAS breastfeeding lowers the rate of acute otitis media by 40 percent, which 10 provides economic benefits to Alaskans by reducing the costs of medical care; and 11 WHEREAS breastfeeding reduces obesity over the lifetime of an infant by 50 12 percent, saving Alaska residents approximately $229,000,000 a year; and 13 WHEREAS children who have been breastfed are less depressed, anxious, and 14 withdrawn, and experience fewer learning problems, fewer diagnoses of behavioral health and 15 conduct disorders, lower rates of delinquent, aggressive, and antisocial behavior, and a lower

01 need for mental health services; and 02 WHEREAS the immediate skin-to-skin contact in breastfeeding enhances the 03 emotional connection between the mother and infant that continues through the child's 04 adolescent years and reduces the susceptibility of a person to prostitution and incarceration; 05 and 06 WHEREAS breastfeeding for a total of 24 months over the mother's lifetime 07 decreases the occurrence of premenopausal breast cancer by 50 percent, eliminating an 08 average of $52,560,000 of medical care costs in the state each year; and 09 WHEREAS breastfeeding decreases the incidence of insulin-dependent diabetes 10 mellitus by 40 percent over an infant's lifetime, saving Alaska residents approximately 11 $321,785,600 a year; and 12 WHEREAS breastfeeding offers numerous health benefits to new mothers by 13 reducing the mother's risk of acquiring breast and ovarian cancers, and postpartum 14 depression; and 15 WHEREAS breastfeeding provides economic benefits to families by decreasing the 16 need to purchase infant formula; and 17 WHEREAS, based on the above health advantages, breastfeeding lowers the cost of 18 medical care for Alaskans; and 19 WHEREAS studies have shown that the baby-friendly hospital initiative can decrease 20 the likelihood of child abuse or neglect and a person's being at risk for sex trafficking; and 21 WHEREAS the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative crosses state and national 22 boundaries in an effort to encourage and recognize hospitals that offer an optimal level of care 23 for infant feeding; and 24 WHEREAS the defined term "baby-friendly" may be used only by maternity services 25 that have adopted assessment standards for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative; and 26 WHEREAS hospitals and birthing facilities receive and retain the baby-friendly 27 designation by implementing the evidence-based program, Ten Steps to Successful 28 Breastfeeding; and 29 WHEREAS babies born in hospitals and birthing facilities that follow the Ten Steps 30 to Successful Breastfeeding program have significantly higher rates of initiating and 31 extending breastfeeding than the national average;

01 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature recognizes the unique physical, 02 mental health, economic, and societal benefits that breastfeeding provides to babies, mothers, 03 families, and communities; and be it 04 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature strongly encourages 05 hospitals and birthing facilities in the state to receive the baby-friendly designation by 06 implementing the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding program.