Breastfeeding mothers would be hard-pressed to find a friendlier city than Austin, Texas.
A new mom’s first order of business is feeding her child, and learning to breastfeed can bring on new parent stress within an hour of baby’s birth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while approximately seventy percent of American mothers breastfeed their babies at birth, typically only thirty percent are still breastfeeding exclusively three months later, and only thirteen percent are still breastfeeding exclusively six months later.
Fortunately new mothers in Austin have a wide variety of breastfeeding resources and support tools at their disposal, from nursing boutiques and lactation consultants to the Department of State Health Services. Austin is also one of only ten cities in the United States that are home to human milk banks.
The new Women’s Center of Texas at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center has taken an increasingly popular breastfeeding friendly approach by providing an environment that is supportive of natural deliveries, adopting a room-in policy in their postpartum unit, and offering mothers lactation consultations with board-certified staff consultants.
Maternity and nursing boutiques are not strangers to Austin, and neither are independent lactation consultants. In fact, some businesses provide both in one stop. Special Addition Maternity and Nursing Boutique offers nursing bras for all moms, but first they offer monthly breastfeeding classes, an in-house lactation consultant, breast pump sales and rentals, and a plethora of other nursing supplies. The store also houses a comfortable nursing room, as well as a scale for weigh-ins between well baby visits.
The state of Texas itself, seated in Austin, is also very supportive of breastfeeding. The Texas Health Code (Ann. § 165.001 et seq. and § 165.031 et seq.) specifies that a mother may breastfeed in any location she chooses and provides a special designation for workplaces that support breastfeeding mothers. The Texas Department of State Health Services has campaigned for years to promote nursing by educating new mothers on breastfeeding and its benefits. The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program even has a Breastfeeding Resource Center in Austin.
Texas actually boasts two of the nation’s ten human milk banks (one in Austin and one in Fort Worth). Only two other states have laws regarding “the procurement, processing, distribution, or use of human milk” (Tex. Health Code Ann. § 161.071). The Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin collects, pasteurizes, and distributes donations from local mothers to premature or ill babies who’ve had donor milk prescribed by their doctors.
All of these resources combine to make Austin’s new breastfeeding moms some of the most comfortable in the state and in the country. Click here for more information on the state’s offerings to breastfeeding mothers.