ASTHO Breastfeeding Learning Community: 2018 - Present

ASTHO, with support from CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity (DNPAO), is using its collaborative Learning Community Model to assist the current State Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) program recipients to increase their capacity to implement evidence-based breastfeeding programs, practices, and services in three priority areas:

  1. increase practices supportive of breastfeeding in birthing facilities
  2. provide access to professional and peer support for breastfeeding
  3. ensure workplace compliance with the federal lactation accommodation law

State Initiatives to Improve Breastfeeding Promotion and Support

This clickable map contains descriptions of the 16 SPAN states and their chosen priority areas for breastfeeding. Information is available for each state that is colored in blue. See map »

State Breastfeeding Initiatives Map

SPAN Participating States

  • Alaska*
  • Arkansas*
  • California
  • Colorado*
  • Connecticut
  • Illinois*
  • Kentucky
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri*
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio*
  • Pennsylvania*
  • Texas
  • Utah*
  • Washington*

For more information about the current SPAN recipients, visit CDC's DNPAO webpage.

Innovation Grants

In early January 2020, ASTHO awarded innovation grants to the nine states marked with an asterisk above to implement innovative strategies to advance state-level breastfeeding initiatives in health equity. Through these state innovations, awardees will partner with both traditional and nontraditional partners in the areas of physical activity, nutrition and obesity prevention, early life nutrition, and breastfeeding, and implement transformational and innovative approaches to reduce disparities in breastfeeding rates. To learn more about the nine state innovations, click on the map above.


ASTHO launched the first cohort of Breastfeeding Learning Community states in 2014. Over the course of four years, ASTHO supported 18 states and DC to implement unique projects targeting one or more of the three systems-level strategies for improving breastfeeding support in states. Learn more about the 2014-2018 Breastfeeding Learning Community activities »

Learning Community Call Recordings and Presentations

To facilitate learning across states, ASTHO is leveraging the breastfeeding learning community network to connect state partners in similar roles and share successful examples of breastfeeding promotion and support. The audience is the 16 State Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) states participating in the learning community as well as the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) participants within those SPAN states. The calls have featured presentations from a variety of states and national experts. The presentation portions of the call recordings are available below:

  • ASTHO Breastfeeding Learning Community
    • ASTHOConnects Session #1: ASTHO Breastfeeding Learning Community (June 26, 2019). ASTHO and CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity will host a kickoff webinar to welcome 16 states to the ASTHO Breastfeeding Learning Community and provide an overview of the learning community experience. Following introductions, each state team will discuss technical assistance needs or expertise they can offer other learning community participants. Finally, Hawaii will describe outcomes of a recent technical assistance request on provider buy-in.
    • ASTHOConnects Session #2: Working Across Boundaries to Incorporate an Equity Lens to Breastfeeding Initiatives (November 13, 2019). The audience for this session were the 16 State Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) states participating in the leaning community as well as the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) participants within those SPAN states. The ASTHOConnects presented the Center for Creative Leadership’s (CCL) Boundary-Spanning Leadership (BSL) framework and toolkit. As part of the session, states discussed the visioning tool and assisted states with strategizing on methods to incorporate an equity lens to breastfeeding initiatives.
    • ASTHOConnects Session #3: 10 Building Blocks of Early Childhood Nutrition: Strategies to Promote Breastfeeding (April 30, 2020). The goal of this ASTHOConnects was to increase the awareness and understanding of the learning community’s work to support public health initiatives, including promotion of breastfeeding through perinatal quality collaboratives, focused on two goals, developing lifelong healthy dietary patterns to prevent chronic disease, and raising awareness on the importance of early nutrition in the first two years of life for healthy growth and development.
      The objectives for this webinar were as follows:
        1. Provide background on how breastfeeding promotes lifelong nutrition and health, including early brain development.
        2. Demonstrate how states have promoted breastfeeding via perinatal quality collaboratives and the effects of those initiatives, including their impact on breastfeeding rates.
        3. Describe the ways in which disparities in access to nutrition for breastfeeding mothers disproportionately and negatively impact racial and ethnic minority populations.
    • State Innovations to Advance Breastfeeding & Health Equity Innovation Grants Bidders Conference Call (November 22, 2019).