Breastfeeding promotion programs

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can help address the social determinants of health. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program overview

  • Provide education and information about breastfeeding to women throughout prenatal and postnatal care
  • Often support and encourage breastfeeding among women in the workplace through various programs
  • Offer counseling from health care providers or trained volunteers as well as support groups for nursing mothers
  • Engage in legal and social advocacy for breastfeeding activities

Evidence and impacts


Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

  • Increases in the number of children who are breastfed
  • Reduces ear, lower respiratory, and gastrointestinal infections in infants
  • Lower likelihood of childhood obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and asthma in children
  • Reduces risk of breast and ovarian cancer in mothers
  • Lower rates of maternal hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease

Best practices in implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Successful programs aim to reduce breastfeeding barriers that women face, both publicly and privately.
  • Partnerships with employers enable better support for breastfeeding mothers, often by creating spaces to pump and store breast milk.
  • Informational initiatives around breastfeeding in hospitals, maternity clinics, and early care facilities can improve understanding and persistence in new mothers.
  • Pairing breastfeeding initiatives with peer counseling and nutrition programs can provide additional support to new mothers.
  • Public health legislation that allows for breastfeeding in public reduces cost of and barriers to breastfeeding.