The Worcester Division of Public Health (WDPH) REACH Breastfeeding Strategy's goal is to increase community support and clinical care available for breastfeeding, and it partners with local organizations to help implement concrete changes.

Breastfeeding and Health

Breastfeeding has shown to save lives by protecting babies and mothers from life-threatening infections and illnesses. The United States Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that infants exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of their lives, and then continue breastfeeding while having complementary foods introduced into their diet until they are 12 months old. By following these guidelines, babies lower their risk of asthma, obesity, type 1 diabetes and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastmilk provides antibodies from the mother to her baby, which help babies develop a strong immune system. Breastfeeding also reduces the mother's risk of breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

Learn More Aprende Más

Projects and Partners

WDPH REACH is partnering with Accompany Doula Care to create and implement trainings on doula care and breastfeeding support. In 2022, 15 Worcester-area community members received free training to equip them to enter the local doula workforce, specifically able to meet the needs of the Latino community. They are also collaborating to create an English and Spanish outreach booklet to educate the public on the benefits of doulas, which will be shared with agencies, hospitals and other community organizations.

REACH is also hosting focus group with Latina mothers to learn about their past and present experiences before, during and after their pregnancy, as well as to hear their recommendations. Focus groups have been co-hosted by Accompany Doula Care, the Latino Education Institute and YWCA of Central Massachusetts.

Central MA Doula Directory

Group Photo of Worcester-area Doulas

Along with Worcester Healthy Baby Collaborative, Family Health Center of Worcester (FHCW) and UMass Memorial Health, WDPH REACH is creating a network of bilingual/bicultural breastfeeding education and support for Latino families. FHCW hired bicultural/bilingual staff for its Centering Pregnancy prenatal education program, Baby Café breastfeeding support group and Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program. They also offered virtual Baby Café breastfeeding support groups to better accommodate varying family needs. The UMass Memorial Maternal and Fetal Medicine Department offered bicultural/bilingual lactation support services, hired a bicultural/bilingual Community Health Worker to refer families to community services and created a special lactation support group for mothers of infants with a cleft lip or palate.

The partnership will continue to expand bicultural/bilingual services. For next steps, it will work to increase referrals to Baby Café and offer these groups with bilingual Certified Lactation Consultants previously trained by the partnership. UMass will offer increased lactation support for newborns who are admitted into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Success Story

Mother and Baby


City of Worcester
Worcester 311
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Phone: 311
Contact Us
Services Tour

Facebook, X, YouTube and Instagram Icons
ALERTWorcester Logo
City of Worcester Seal Image Worcester Public Schools Seal Image Worcester Public Library Logo
Home | Login | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Site Map

© 2024 Copyright City of Worcester, MA. All Rights Reserved.

Official City of Worcester, MA Website