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Breastfeeding: The Policy Process Essay Sample

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Breastfeeding is the best nourishment for newborns, infants, and toddlers. The Surgeon General has started an initiative to educate and promote breastfeeding to new mothers and their family support system. Womenshealth.gov states, “the experience of breastfeeding is special for so many reasons – the joyful bonding with your baby, the cost savings, and the health benefits for both mother and baby” (“Benefits,” 2014, p. 1). Educating women and their families is the most important outcome in this process. Evaluation stage

The Evaluation stage in the policy making process can be done through many different standards. Informal evaluations using stories and anecdotes, substantive evaluation through feedback from those who are affected by the policy. Formal research can be done to evaluate the effectiveness, and scientific research will provide statistical and comparative results. The stated evaluation techniques can happen at any time and provide necessary data to determine if a policy is having the desired effect for the purposes it was intended.

Although there are several ways to evaluate policies most of the time they are not evaluated at all. Boundless.com states, “Policies can be difficult to assess. Some policies aim to accomplish broad conceptual goals that are subject to different interpretations” (“Evaluation of Policy,” n.d., p. 1). Scientific and formal evaluations are expensive, time consuming, complicated to design the data needed to collected for evaluation, and difficult to implement the process of collecting the data. Collecting informal data is much easier and more accessible but the data usually is heavily biased. Evaluation Process

Informal evaluation would be very helpful to reach the desired objective of the education of the value of breastfeeding. Gathering information and sharing personal stories would be helpful for new mothers, their family support system, and repeat mother who may have not breastfed previous children. Having community support groups where women and family support can share experiences, ask questions, and get additional education to help them continue to breastfeed for as long as they feel comfortable doing so.

Formal research and scientific research will be used to support the state and community programs and the national campaign. Even though these two forms of evaluation are expensive they will give the most accurate information about the positive outcomes for mother and child when breastfeeding occurs and for how long it will be beneficial. Without the hard data that these two forms of evaluation will provide to support the education of women, the campaign of increasing breastfeeding rates will not be nearly as effective. Analysis stage

American University defines policy analysis as “the problem and the goals, examines the arguments, and analyzes implementation of the policy” (“Definition,” n.d., p. 1). Policy analysis can be divided into analysis of the policy and analysis for policy. Analysis of the policy is descriptive of the policy because there is an attempt to explain the policy and its development. Analysis for the policy is prescriptive because it deals with formulation and proposing policies. Policy analysis is usually based out of the public sector but can be applied to different kinds of organizations as well.

There are three approaches to policy analysis depending on the focus that is needed from the data collected. The analycentric approach focuses on the solutions for individual problems to find the most efficient and effective solution. An example is to find the most efficient way to allocate resources. The policy process approach focuses onto the stakeholders and the political process. This approach tries to determine what means and processes can be used and how it will influence the stakeholders involved with the policy process. An example would be how to use relative power to enhance the public’s participation and how to identify the solutions to the problem. The meta-policy approach uses a process of systems and context. The focus is problem interpretation and the factors that influence it. The factors can be political, economic, or socio-culture in nature. Prevention of the Policy Objective

One factor that could keep this policy from being achieved is the lack of supportive data. Another factor would be the lack of back-up support from lawmakers and policy makers. These groups of people need to understand and support the policy to help push the policy through the proper processes of legislation. The stakeholders are vital in pushing through the policy and for allocating resources that are needed to funding national policies. Contributing Factors

The factors that will contribute to this policy meeting its objective is the funding of a national campaign to encourage and educate families about the positive effects for mother and child. Another factor is gaining the support of community and hospital programs in the lower income families. Quality data collection of current and future breastfeeding rates so that the campaign and local programs can better educate the mothers and their family support systems. The Surgeon General states, Policymakers can “Support compliance with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes” (“Fact sheet,” 2014, p. 1). Revision stage

The revision stage of policy making is intended to remove the imperfections and provide the necessary clarity. Policies are constantly being revised in order to remove or correct errors from the implementation process or consequences that are unexpected. Policy revision is not part of the formulation process of policy making. Required revisions

One revision would be to focus more resources on education and supporting lower income families, especially African-American families. African-American babies are not breastfed as much they should be. Possibly another revision would be a tax break for families that attend and breastfed their babies for a certain amount of time that can be documented through regular visits with a pediatrician. Incentives to a family’s financial bottom line may increase participation. As the initiative and programs continue to grow and serve the communities the revisions will come to light to make the most benefits for the community being served. Conclusion

There is understanding that breastfeeding is a vital process for mothers and babies to have by the Surgeon General. Enough understanding that the Surgeon General is promoting a movement to start a national campaign to promote breastfeeding. The benefits are overwhelming yet the breastfeeding data does not show favorable numbers that it is being done enough by mothers. Increased awareness and education is vital to the health of our children.

References

Breastfeeding. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/ Policy Evaluation. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.boundless.com/political-science/domestic-policy/policy-making-process/policy-evaluation/ The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/calls/breastfeeding/factsheet.html Tips for writing a policy analysis. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.american.edu/cas/writing/pdf/upload/Writing-a-Policy-Analysis.pdf

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