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TARGET LA - Increasing Breastfeeding Rates Where Babies are Born


The project published the first Los Angeles County hospital breastfeeding report in October 2010: Increasing breastfeeding-Friendly Hospitals in Los Angeles County.

Click Here for the parallel report for the state of California, published by UC Davis and CWA in January, 2011


Exclusive breastfeeding is important for the health and wellbeing of infants, their mothers, families, and communities; formula feeding carries with it a certain degree of risk. Yet, many parents find that their newborns are supplemented with infant formula in the hospital even when there is no medical need. Many of these mothers give up on breastfeeding far earlier than what medical experts recommend. All too often, the hospitals with poor newborn feeding practices are in low-income communities.

TARGET LA is a grassroots effort to remedy this situation and improve care in the facilities serving many low-income families in Los Angeles County so that mothers who want to breastfeed can, indeed, breastfeed. This project was developed in response to unacceptably low breastfeeding rates in LA hospitals: only 24% of LA mothers are exclusively breastfeeding when they leave the hospital, compared to over 40% of mothers in the rest of California. Every mother and her baby need and deserve the chance for the healthiest start in life, and hospitals must do a better job to implement policies and practices that do not interfere with a mother’s decision to breastfeed. TARGET LA is funded by First 5 LA for five years from July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2014.

TARGET LA uses local data, grassroots organizing, and advocacy to educate the community and work with them to convince hospitals to support mothers who want to breastfeed, by adopting evidence-based policies that have been proven to increase breastfeeding rates.

TARGET LA is also working with health plans to streamline health insurance coverage for breastfeeding services, and with political leaders to pass state legislation that will protect and promote the rights of all California women to breastfeed.

TARGET LA is a collaborative effort of three effective organizations:

  •  The Breastfeeding Task Force of Greater Los Angeles is a grassroots organization composed of a broad range of members that include parents, health care workers, and breastfeeding advocates in the Los Angeles area. This wide range of members means that the Task Force has direct connections with many of the hospitals, health agencies, and other grassroots organizations in Los Angeles.
  • Public Health Foundation Enterprises-WIC is the largest local WIC agency in the country, with fifty centers that serve approximately 316,000, or one-fourth, of all California WIC participants. Not only does PHFE-WIC give the TARGET LA program access to a wide range of WIC families and health workers, they also have considerable expertise in data analysis and program planning.
  • California WIC Association is a statewide organization representing all parties interested in the WIC program in California. CWA has expertise in legislation and legislative advocacy at the state level, and acts as the leader of TARGET LA’s efforts to get legislation passed in California that will allow mothers and babies to breastfeed more easily.

For more information about TARGET LA, please contact