Perinatal e-News
Issue 56 | August 5 , 2010
World Breastfeeding Week
Pertussis Epidemic
Healthcare reform website
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Dear friends,

LA Best Babies Network has moved its offices to California Hospital Medical Center. Please update your files with our new address:

1401 South Grand Ave, PHR Building, 3rd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Our e-mails and phone numbers will remain the same.

Your friends at LA Best Babies Network
World Breastfeeding Week
Breastfeeding mother Best Babies Collaboratives and Care Quality Collaborative Achieve Healthy People 2010 Goals

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week (August 1 - August 7) and California Breastfeeding Awareness Month, LA Best Babies Network would like to salute the impressive achievements of the Best Babies Collaboratives (BBCs) and Care Quality Collaborative in supporting and increasing breastfeeding in our communities.

The goals set by Healthy People 2010 are for 75% of mothers to initiate breastfeeding, and for 50% to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months. With the support of First 5 LA's Healthy Births Initiative, and through the efforts of the BBCs, women participating in the BBC programs have met and exceeded these goals.

This is particularly remarkable considering that in 2006, the baseline rate of breastfeeding initiation in the BBC population was only 42%.

The Healthy Births Care Quality Collaborative also achieved a dramatic 90% increase over the 2007 baseline, in initiation of exclusive breastfeeding among its clients--rates that were sustained over time.

According to the Network's Perinatal Scorecard, in Los Angeles County, the rates of both "any" and "exclusive" breastfeeding in 2007 were well below California state averages. By race, African American, Pacific Islander, and American Indian mothers living in LA County were least likely to breastfeed, whereas rates were highest for white, Asian, multiple race, and Hispanic mothers. LA County mothers who were college graduates, or who had attended some college, had higher rates of all measures of breastfeeding than mothers with less education.

Both the BBCs and the Care Quality clinics have achieved success by implementing a broad-based, multi-pronged approach that includes a supportive clinic environment, consistent messages from all staff, and ongoing breastfeeding education and support, starting at the very beginning of pregnancy, and continuing in the hospital, and the first days and weeks following birth.
The Collaboratives recognize that for breastfeeding to be successful, it is important to make moms-to-be aware of its benefits early in their pregnancies, and to support them in achieving their breastfeeding goals, including assisting moms during postpartum hospital and home visits. The BBCs provide this continuous support through  individual case management. Care Quality Clinics also referred clients not receiving home visitation to WIC lactation peer counselors for additional breastfeeding education and support.

Through the Healthy Births Initiative, BBC case mangers and Care Quality clinic staff were trained as certified lactation educators and lactation consultants.

Yolanda Salomon Lopez, Program Coordinator for the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services and the Long Beach-Wilmington BBC, reports that with this training, BBC case managers in Long Beach are able to provide one-on-one breastfeeding support during hospital or home visitation.
In the Harbor-Corridor BBC, according to Cordelia Hanna-Cheruiyot, BBC Case Manager Supervisor/Health Educator for St. John's Well Child and Family Center, in addition to having case managers who are certified lactation educators, breastfeeding education is offered through stand-alone breastfeeding classes, as part of a series in prepared childbirth classes, and as part of an outreach program to local high schools. Clients are also offered educational videos, printed materials, flyers, and incentive programs.

Both Harbor-Corridor and the Long Beach-Wilmington BBC have initiated breast pump loan programs, and are prepared to refer clients to additional community resources, including WIC breastfeeding classes, and La Leche League hotline information.

These efforts have resulted in healthier babies, moms, and communities.
Learn more:

World Breastfeeding Week
The Breastfeeding Taskforce of Greater Los Angeles promotes breastfeeding friendly policies and practices.

California WIC breastfeeding awareness month page
California WIC Breastfeeding information page
Download the Network's brochure, Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Policies, available in English and
California Pertussis Epidemic
Pertussis Bacteria
Pertussis bacteria
Whooping Cough Cases May Be Highest in 50 Years

So far this year, 7 infants have died in California, 3 of them in LA County--all under 2 months old, and all Hispanic, and the California Department of Public Health has declared an epidemic. Recently, CDHP broadened its
vaccination recommendations
to better protect Californians, especially infants who are too young to be immunized.

"We are facing what could be the worst year for more than 50 years," said CDPH Chief of the Center for Infectious Disease, Dr. Gilberto Chávez. "We are urging health providers to broaden their use of the pertussis vaccine and Californians to take the simple step of getting vaccinated."

In addition to the typical series of childhood pertussis immunizations, CDPH now recommends an adolescent-adult pertussis booster vaccine (Tdap) for:
  • anyone 7 years and older who is not fully immunized, including those who are more than 64 years old,
  • women of childbearing age, before, during, or immediately after pregnancy, and
  • other people who have contact with pregnant women or infants.
Pertussis is highly contagious, and immunity wears off after approximately 5-10 years, leaving adults susceptible to the disease. As of August 3, 2,492 cases of pertussis had been reported in California, 6 times more than the same period last year, when 392 cases had been reported. About 300 cases have been  in LA County. All of those killed by the disease were Hispanic infants. Since 1998, more than 80 percent of the infants in California who have died from pertussis have been Hispanic, and in most cases, infants catch pertussis from a family member or household contact, often their own mother. CDHP also stresses that the booster vaccine is safe for pregnant women.

The May 31 Los Angeles Times featured a front page story about a newborn who died after contracting pertussis from his mother. Mariah Bianchi, a critical care nurse in San Francisco, had been coughing for two weeks before her baby's delivery, but no one thought to test her for the disease, nor advise her to take preventative measures around her newborn.

Pertussis is easily misdiagnosed. In adults it can present as a common cold, and newborns, who typically do not exhibit the "whoop" cough, can have deceptively mild symptoms at first: a runny nose, an undetectable or mild cough, generally no fever. However, these same infants can deteriorate very rapidly from the disease. 

As part of the campaign urging adults to get vaccinated against pertussis, The March of Dimes has launched the Sounds of Pertussis campaign. The website includes a video where you can hear a child's cough and its signature "whoop" sound. Sanofi Pasteur has offered to donate 10˘ to the March of Dimes for every new fan of the Sounds of Pertussis Facebook page, until the page reaches 50,000 fans

Learn More

LA County Department of Public Health Pertussis Information

California Department of Public Health Pertussis Information

Mariah Bianchi's story

Audio of whooping cough

LA Times Questions & Answers about Pertussis

Pertussis Flyer for Pregnant Women (Spanish)

Pertussis Flyer for Pregnant Women (English)
HHS Unveils Insurance Finder Tool

On July 1st, the Department of Health and Human Services unveiled, a new online tool with an insurance finder that makes it easy for consumers to compare insurance plans.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says, " will help take some of the mystery out of shopping for health insurance...The site makes a system that thrived on complication and confusion easier to understand." also contains information on every Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program in the country, and information on the Pre-Existing Condition Plan in every state. Consumers can learn tips for preventing illness at the "Quick Guide to Healthy Living"; get an introduction to the Affordable Care Act; and find information for seniors, families with children, people with disabilities, and others.