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 Breastfeeding Awareness Month theme in Ohio is Breastfeeding Protects: mom, baby, and Earth. 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.
“In light of the monetary and life saving benefits of breastfeeding, all elements of the community, are encouraged to cooperate and support breastfeeding.” said Marilyn Wilson RD,IBCLC from Preble County WIC office. “Ultimately, our whole society benefits from having healthier mothers, babies and children when breastfeeding is promoted, protected and supported.”
One of the most important things businesses and the community can do is to allow mothers to feel comfortable nursing in public. 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 “Breastfeeding 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. This will increase employee retention and reduce medical costs.
Hospitals, educational institutions, and social media can also provide educational information and support for breast feeding mothers.
Breastfeeding is a personal choice, but communities play a vital role in informing and supporting a mother’s decision to breastfeed her baby. Returning our communities back into a breastfeeding supportive culture will take efforts by family, friends, employers, educational institutions, hospitals and businesses.
Preble County Public Health, located at 615 Hillcrest Drive, helps women in our community reach their breastfeeding goals through the assistance families receive from three IBCLCs and one WIC Breastfeeding Peer Helper.
Visit “Preble County Nutrition and Breastfeeding Support “on facebook. To learn more about breastfeeding please call the Preble County WIC office at 937-456-5457.
To access the services at Preble County Public Health, you can visit their website (www.preblecountyhealth.org), as well as follow them online through Facebook at www.facebook.com/PrebleCoHealth and on Twitter at @PrebleCoHealth! You can reach them Monday through Friday between the hours of 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m., by phone at 937-472-0087.