Research shows that babies who breastfeed or receive exclusive access to breast milk for the first six months of life have better health, educational and emotional outcomes. We believe a mother's breast milk is the optimal first food to give children the best start to good health.
Why This Work Matters
All children deserve a healthy start in life. We believe children’s health can be improved dramatically by ensuring that more babies benefit from breast milk as their first food experience.
We recognize the importance of breastfeeding to improving the lives of vulnerable children and families. Further, recent medical studies have quantified the potential benefits of increased breastfeeding rates to society and the economy, and the benefits of breastfeeding for maternal health. These are in addition to the undeniable qualitative benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child.
Our first food strategy aligns with our focus on optimal child development, and builds on the foundation’s legacy of supporting access to healthy food and improving maternal and child health.
What We Support
We support a broad-based approach to first food that seeks to accelerate a cultural shift in the acceptance of breastfeeding and recognition of its benefits to children and their mothers.
Our approach emphasizes working with communities where health disparities are most prevalent, and where mothers and children will benefit the most from increased breastfeeding. By supporting community-based approaches to supporting breastfeeding moms, we help advocates learn what works in vulnerable communities.
We support organizations that expand community supports for mothers and families, improve hospital and workplace environments to make breastfeeding easier, encourage new social norms for breastfeeding and strengthen the network of groups working together to increase breastfeeding rates.
We invest in a number of national, state and local organizations across the United States and in tribal nations committed to supporting mothers who want to breastfeed. By funding local efforts, we improve breastfeeding rates in our priority places. And by seeding a national movement, advancing research and advocating for change, we create systems to support mothers in breastfeeding.