To make breastfeeding easier for all Kentuckians.
A Kentucky where a culture of support for breastfeeding is the norm.
The Lactation Improvement Network of Kentucky was formed to help protect, promote and support breastfeeding across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. LINK engages in educational activities and initiatives to support this goal.
LINK is registered with the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) as the state breastfeeding coalition for Kentucky. As such, the guidelines, roles and responsibilities, found at: http://www.usbreastfeeding.org/Portals/0/Coalitions/Coalition-Guidelines-2008-10.pdf
LINK’s past activities have primarily focused on developing the foundation of the organization (e.g., establishing bylaws, electing officers, creating a website, developing mission and vision statements). The formation of LINK began in April 2010 at the First Annual Breastfeeding Summit, organized by Kentucky’s Women, Infants and Children program and held as a pre-conference session to the Kentucky Dietetic Association Conference. Approximately 125 attendees developed and prioritized strategies for improving Kentucky’s breastfeeding rates at this summit. LINK members have also met at the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Annual Breastfeeding Summits in the years 2011-2013. Officers began regular monthly meetings in 2012, and two officers attended the National Conference of State Breastfeeding Coalitions in August 2012 in Arlington, VA.
In April 2013, LINK officers conducted a community assessment with attendees of Kentucky’s 4th Annual Breastfeeding Summit. Attendees discussed 1) the types of stakeholders present and those needed for greater diversity and 2) community needs that were being met and gaps that needed to be filled. Goals of the statewide coalition were listed as:
LINK intends to undertake educational projects related to these goals, as funds and volunteers’ time allow.
In April 2013, LINK began its first major project when it received a subcontract award from USBC. With support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USBC was contracted by the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) to engage state breastfeeding coalitions in the Best Fed Beginnings Collaborative (an initiative to support hospitals in achieving “Baby-Friendly” status by implementing evidence-based maternity care practices that support breastfeeding). LINK received an award of $5200 to work with the University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington, KY (Kentucky’s only designated Best Fed Beginnings hospital) to 1) develop breastfeeding educational programs for pregnant women and 2) establish partnerships for integrated and continuous follow-up care after discharge from the hospital. Local data showed low breastfeeding initiation and exclusivity among African-American and Hispanic mothers, and stakeholders indicated a lack of resources and support groups for these mothers. LINK is collaborating with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department and the University of Kentucky to add a prenatal breastfeeding class in Spanish and a postpartum breastfeeding support group targeting African Americans to the current prenatal classes targeting low-income women. After these programs are piloted in Lexington, we hope to work with other local health departments throughout the state to implement similar programs.
As one of the newer state coalitions in the United States, LINK also received additional coalition capacity building funds ($2500) from USBC to further develop our website, to hire a lawyer to help us complete this Application for Recognition of Exemption, and to work with national coalition consultants to better mobilize our volunteers.
In September 2013, LINK began distributing a monthly e-newsletter as a means of increasing communication among breastfeeding advocates across the state.
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499 East High Street, Lexington, KY 40507