Prevent, Promote, and Protect your Health with the Lake County General Health District
(440) 350-2543
5966 Heisley Rd
Mentor, Ohio 44060
August 02, 2017
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Breastfeeding: it's a TEAM thing!

August 2, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                      CONTACT: Rachel Sray, 440-487-8075

August 1, 2017                                                                                                                                  LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICT

Breastfeeding: it’s a TEAM thing!

Communities Need to Work Together to Provide Support for Breastfeeding Mothers

(Lake County), Ohio – August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month in Ohio and August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week (WBW). Research suggests that breastfeeding is a key modifiable factor for disease for both mothers and infants. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that Ohio’s 2016 breastfeeding initiation rate of 77.7 percent ranks 38th in the nation. This year’s 2017 Breastfeeding Awareness Month theme in Ohio is Breastfeeding: it’s a TEAM thing! The theme is aimed to promote the support persons’ role in successful breastfeeding. Research shows that if a mother’s breastfeeding efforts are supported, she is more likely to give it a try, and more likely to keep going even if things get tough.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization 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 must cooperate and support breastfeeding.” said Lake-Geauga WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Director Rachel Sray “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 staff on the acceptance of breastfeeding in their establishments. Businesses interested in displaying the breastfeeding sign are welcome to contact Lake County General Health District. 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.

Educational institutions can support breastfeeding by presenting age-appropriate education on the anatomy and physiology of the human body. Local county fairs can teach young children about how other mammals feed their young with milk that is made just for them. Child care providers and libraries can also stock children’s books that show breastfeeding as a normal part of family life.

Social media can also provide support to breastfeeding mothers. Breastfeeding mothers can reach out through groups and chatrooms and get the support they need to feel normal in a formula-feeding culture.

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.

For more information about breastfeeding in Lake or Geauga County, please call the Help Me Grow Helpline at 1-800-755-GROW or your Lake-Geauga WIC office at 440-350-2817.

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Marianne Rusnak
About the Author