Public Health

Posted on: July 31, 2017

Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health Builds On Breastfeeding Initiative

BBPH Breastfeeding web lg.

Public Service Announcements target employers and mothers

Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health (BBPH) seeks to increase the rate of breastfeeding duration of infants at six months of age through a public service announcement (PSA) campaign. The PSA’s target both employers and mothers. The campaign launches August 1, which is National Breastfeeding Month.

“Women with children is the fastest-growing segment of the labor force, and in North Dakota, 66 percent of women with children younger than 6 years of age work outside the home” explains Katie Johnke, BBPH Nutrition Services Coordinator. “With this campaign, we want to provide a positive message to employers that they too can assist with mothers’ breastfeeding goals. By providing a positive environment for an employee who is a new mother needing to breastfeed or pump, they provide valuable support that can ease stress on the employee.”

Johnke said, “We also want new mothers to know that they can attain their breastfeeding goals regardless of their profession or career. Resources are in place to help.”

The PSA campaign is funded through a Health Resource and Services Administration grant awarded to BBPH in April, 2016.  BBPH was one of three public health units in the state to receive the grant.

Theresa Schmidt, BBPH Community Health Nurse Manager, points out that the grant is having a positive impact. “We have been able to increase collaborative efforts and partner with local hospitals for referrals to our newborn home visit program”. That is an extremely positive sign. It indicates that more mothers are seeking the assistance to be successful in their breastfeeding efforts as they see the health benefits breastfeeding can play for themselves and baby.”

Schmidt also points out that a text messaging program has been implemented to create greater access to the lactation counselors. “Text messaging allows for increased access to and a quicker response from a certified lactation counselor while providing a degree of confidentiality to the mother. It enables mothers to reach out to us regardless of where they are.”  

“We are pleased that we are experiencing growth in our community partnerships. More employers are seeking input on how they can establish effective policy and create private breastfeeding spaces for new mothers. We are hopeful that this new campaign will inspire more employers to seek our assistance to take positive steps to make breastfeeding successful for their employees,” said Johnke.

Learn more about BBPH services at

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