PREBLE COUNTY — August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month in Ohio and Aug. 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week (WBW). Research suggests that breastfeeding is a key modifiable factor for disease for both mothers and infants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that Ohio’s 2014 breastfeeding initiation rate of 70.1 percent ranks 43rd in the nation. This year’s WBW theme is “Breastfeeding and Work – Let’s Make it Work “and Ohio WIC’s motto is “Working Together for Breastfeeding Success!”
According to Preble County Public Health officials, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and continued breastfeeding with the addition of appropriate solid food for the first year and beyond.
For breastfeeding to “work”, all elements of the community, must cooperate and support breastfeeding, officials said in a press release.
One of the most important things businesses and the community can do is to allow mothers to feel comfortable nursing in public, according to PCPH. Hungry babies need to eat and Ohio law (Section 3781.55 of the Ohio Revised Code) allows breastfeeding in public. Businesses can show their support by placing the “Nursing Babies are Welcome Here” universal sign for breastfeeding in their windows and educate their staffs on the acceptance of breastfeeding in their establishments. They can also encourage their employees and provide a private space (other than a bathroom) to pump, accoridng to local officials. This will increase employee retention and reduce medical costs.
Breastfeeding is a personal choice, but communities play a vital role in informing and supporting a mother’s decision to breastfeed her baby.
For more information about breastfeeding in Preble County call the local WIC clinic at 937-456-5457 and ask to speak to a lactation consultant. Also check out the WIC Facebook page at Preble County Nutrition and Breastfeeding Support.