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