Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion 

Physical Activity and Nutrition

Key Initiatives


Publications & Materials

School Health Program

Get out and Play Every Day!

Program Contacts

3601 C Street, Suite 722
Anchorage AK 99503
Fax: 907-269-5446

Alaska Breastfeeding Initiative (ABI)

Partnering with clinicians and hospitals to adopt supportive maternity care practices and policies that improve a mother’s ability to start and continuing breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is an investment in health for infants and mothers. Compared to formula-fed infants, infants who are breastfed or infants who are fed expressed breast milk are less likely to have ear infections, type 2 diabetes and obesity. Breastfed infants have lower chances of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death. [1] Breastfeeding moms have less risk of ovarian cancer. [2]

The Alaska Breastfeeding Initiative, funded through the Physical Activity and Nutrition program, is partnering with hospitals throughout the state to improve breastfeeding outcomes for babies and their mothers. Mothers are more likely to start and continue  breastfeeding and maternity care practices and policies that follow the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding framework.

The evidence-based Ten Steps include practices that support new mothers, such as helping mothers start breastfeeding within the first hour of a baby’s life, providing formal for newborns if prescribed by a physician, and having babies stay in the same room as their mothers to make breastfeeding easier. Adopting this framework is one way to help mothers to meet the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations of feeding their babies breastmilk exclusively for the first six months of life and continuing to breastfeed through the baby’s first 12 months. [3]​

The initiative aims to increase the number of hospitals throughout Alaska that align maternity care policies and practices with the Ten Steps.Hospital staff participate in an online or in-person Ten Steps training. Community practitioners and local Women, Infants and Children (WIC) staff are encouraged to join the trainings. College of Nursing professors may include use of the Ten Steps trainings in their curricula. Trainings are provided at no cost for initiative participants. 


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Alaska Partnerships




[1] Breastfeeding and post-perinatal infant deaths in the United States, a national prospective cohort analysis. Ruowei Li, et al. The Lancet Regional Health – Americas; 2021;00: 100094.

[2] The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. Rockville (MD): Office of the Surgeon General (US); 2011.

[3] American Academy of Pediatrics. Policy Statement: Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Published online Feb 27 2012.

Webpage updated January 2022

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