Southern Seven Health Department seeks information on breastfeeding rates
A new survey aims to shed light on how parents make their decisions
Southern Seven Health Department wants to know more about how young families are choosing to feed their infants.
The department is offering a survey to parents of children less than two years old - in an effort to learn more about breastfeeding rates, access to information, and more.
Hillary Meisenheimer heads up the breastfeeding program at Southern Seven. She says they're hoping to learn about challenges and opportunities local families face.
"There are a lot of factors that every individual family has to kind of work out, and see what's going to work best for them - and all of those things are valid. What we hope, though, and what our goal is in this kind of work is for a lack of support and a lack of information to never be the reason that somebody makes that decision."
Public health statistics show some counties in southern Illinois have among the lowest rates of breastfeeding in the state.
Meisenheimer says there is a correlation between high poverty rates and low breastfeeding rates - and this survey could help her department better understand why.
"Income is definitely one of them, access to public transportation is one of them, how close to your home your healthcare provider is. Here in our seven county region, in some of the areas, families are traveling an hour or more to get to a healthcare provider."
Meisenheimer says while she agrees with the "fed is best" mantra, she and others want to know more about what they can do to make the decision easier.