Dedicated to building breastfeeding-family friendly communities
First Food is a program of the Pennsylvania Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics and funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health where we identify community partners and engage in collaborative efforts throughout Pennsylvania to increase the availability and access to policies and programs that support breastfeeding.
1 in 4
Only 1 in 4 infants is exclusively breastfed as recommended by the time they are 6 months old.
Low rates of breastfeeding add more than $3 billion a year to medical costs for the mother and child in the United States.
76% of African American infants
Three quarters (76%) of African American infants are ever breastfed, which is below the national average of 84%.
Human milk as the “first food”
Everyone in the community has a role to play in supporting breastfeeding/chestfeeding families. We offer a variety of programs and resources for all types of community partners and organizations, including resources to increase chest/breastfeeding support within the hospital and healthcare setting, resources to assist employers and businesses with policies to support chest/breastfeeding clients and staff, as well as educational opportunities for healthcare providers, childcare providers and breastfeeding advocates.
First food is a program committed to collaborating with local, private, and public groups across Pennsylvania to promote, protect, and support chest/breastfeeding. Breastfeeding/chestfeeding significantly improves the health, survival, and wellbeing of infants, children, and their mothers. Parents today initiate chest/breastfeeding in the hospital; however, many will stop within a few days or weeks due to social or community pressures. Supporting breastfeeding takes entire communities coming together to remove social and community pressures to create a healthier, more welcoming community for families.
We care dedicated to improving the health of Pennsylvania mothers, babies, and families.
Our Community Partners
We appreciate our partners who support and promote the efficacy of breastfeeding
What are the benefits of breastfeeding for mom?Breastfeeding provides health benefits for mothers beyond emotional satisfaction. Mothers who breastfeed recover from childbirth more quickly and easily. The hormone oxytocin, released during breastfeeding, acts to return the uterus to its regular size more quickly and can reduce postpartum bleeding. Studies show that women who have breastfed experience reduced rates of breast and ovarian cancer later in life. Some studies have found that breastfeeding may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Exclusive breastfeeding delays the return of the mother’s menstrual period, which can help extend the time between pregnancies. (Note: Exclusive breastfeeding can provide a natural form of contraception if the mother’s menses have not returned, the baby is breastfeeding day and night, and the baby is less than six months old.)
What are the benefits of breastfeeding for baby?Infants who are breastfed have reduced risks of: Asthma. Obesity. Type 1 diabetes. Severe lower respiratory disease. Acute otitis media (ear infections). Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Gastrointestinal infections (diarrhea/vomiting). Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) for preterm infantsexternal icon.
Are there laws to protect breastfeeding?Under Pennsylvania’s Freedom to Breastfeed Act, mothers have the right to breastfeed in any public location, as long as they are legally allowed to be there and hourly breastfeeding employees are protected by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Some communities have additional policies to support breastfeeding in public. Philadelphia Despite the lack of laws at the state level, the city of Philadelphia. Learn more here
How does breastfeeding benefit employers?Many employers do not realize that breastfeeding can save money. Employer benefits for supporting breastfeeding employees include: Breastfeeding employees miss work less often because breastfed infants are healthier. Breastfeeding lowers health care costs. Breastfeeding support helps employers keep their best employees so that less money is spent hiring and training new employees. Breastfeeding employees who are supported in the workplace report higher productivity and loyalty. Supporting breastfeeding employees creates a positive public image. Learn more about how employers benefit from workplace breastfeeding support programs. Learn more here
How does breastfeeding benefit society?Society benefits overall when mothers breastfeed. Breastfeeding saves lives. Research shows that if 90% of families breastfed exclusively for six months, nearly 1,000 deaths among infants could be prevented each year.5 Breastfeeding saves money. Medical costs may be lower for fully breastfed infants than never-breastfed infants. Breastfed infants usually need fewer sick care visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations. Breastfeeding also helps make a more productive workforce. Mothers who breastfeed may miss less work to care for sick infants than mothers who feed their infants formula. Employer medical costs may also be lower. Breastfeeding is better for the environment. Formula cans and bottle supplies create more trash and plastic waste. Your milk is a renewable resource that comes packaged and warmed. Learn more here