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DOH Leon Celebrates National Breastfeeding Awareness Month

August 12, 2021

DOH Leon Celebrates National Breastfeeding Awareness Month 

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 13, 2021

 

 

Florida Department of Health in Leon County Celebrates and Recognizes Breastfeeding Awareness Month

The Department Encourages Leon County Residents to Support Breastfeeding Mothers

 

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Department of Health in Leon County (DOH Leon) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) are celebrating National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Recognized every August, this year’s theme is Protecting Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility.  It was selected to encourage everyone to support breastfeeding mothers, babies, and their families through creating a breastfeeding-friendly environment.  Protecting breastfeeding ensures:

  • Good health and prevents malnutrition, including under and over nutrition.   Breastfeeding has positive lifelong health effects on infants, children, and mothers such as lower incidence of respiratory infections and ear infections for infants and children and reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer for mothers.  Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of childhood overweight and obesity compared to formula feeding.  
  • Food security even in times of crisis.  Breastfeeding provides food security to infants from the very beginning of life, contributes to food security for the whole family, and ensures food security for babies even in times of household or widespread disasters, such as hurricanes. 
  • Improved Economics and Reduced Inequalities.  Breastfeeding can help break the cycle of poverty for families, which impacts hunger and malnutrition. Breastfeeding provides an equal start for everyone. With no additional burden on household income, breastfeeding is a low-cost way of feeding babies and contributes to poverty reduction.  Breastfeeding can also reduce costs to the health care system and employers by decreasing costs of hospitalizations, medications, and reduced absenteeism.
  • A positive impact on the health of the planet in several ways:
  • Breastmilk is a sustainable and environmentally friendly resource.
  • Breastfeeding is readily available without needing other supplies.
  • Breastmilk production does not require the use of energy for manufacturing and does not create waste or air pollution.

 

To protect breastfeeding:

  • Promote the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.
  • Provide access to skilled breastfeeding counseling. Studies have shown that breastfeeding promotion interventions increases exclusive and any breastfeeding rates at 4-6 weeks and at 6 months.
  • Encourage employers and communities to promote and protect breastfeeding, through posting signs “Breastfeeding Welcome Here” and providing private areas for breastfeeding if that is a breastfeeding family’s preference.

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for infants for the first year of life and beyond, with the addition of appropriate complimentary foods when the infant is developmentally ready, around 6 months of age.

DOH Leon’s Nutrition Program Director for the WIC program says, “It’s not called 'liquid gold' for nothing.” Dykibra Gaskin emphasizes that, breastfeeding provides babies with the most beneficial food in the first year of life, and one of the most important things businesses and communities can do is to help mothers feel comfortable nursing in public.” Breastfeeding promotion and education are major components of the WIC program in Leon County.  The county’s resources include breastfeeding peer counselors and staff trained as certified lactation counselors who oversee breastfeeding support groups in the community.

For more information about the Florida WIC program, call 1-800-342-3556 or visit www.FloridaWIC.org. For WIC services in Leon, Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, or Taylor counties, call 850-404-6350. To learn more about breastfeeding initiatives in Florida, visit www.flbreastfeeding.org. For Local Breastfeeding initiative, visit the Capital Area Breastfeeding Coalition’s social media page: https://www.facebook.com/capitalareabreastfeeding/

About the Florida Department of Health

The Florida department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @healthyleonfl and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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Submitted by:

Pamela Saulsby | Public Information Officer