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The original item was published from 8/9/2023 10:48:54 AM to 9/2/2023 12:00:01 AM.

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San Miguel County Public Health News

Posted on: August 9, 2023

[ARCHIVED] August is Breastfeeding Month

Grapic describing ways the Women Infants and Children program supports breastfeeding

August is breastfeeding month 

Making a difference for working parents

 

Media Contact: Grace Franklin, Public Health Director, (970) 728-4289, gracef@sanmiguelcountyco.gov

(August 7, 2023) — San Miguel County, Colorado — August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), an annual celebration of breastfeeding to increase breastfeeding awareness to improve the health of mothers and babies. San Miguel County is extending the campaign through the month of August as we support this year’s theme, Enabling Breastfeeding: Making a difference for working parents. This theme emphasizes the importance of informing communities about working parents’ perceptions regarding breastfeeding and parenting. 

Breastfeeding requires information and many circles of support to create an environment that empowers families to breastfeed. With close support from partners, families, friends, employers, childcare providers, health care providers, and communities, breastfeeding success improves. 

In Colorado, families want to breastfeed - over 90% of families choose to initiate breastfeeding according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Breastfeeding Report Card. However, only 47% of Colorado families are breastfeeding through baby’s first birthday, falling short of the Healthy People 2030 goal of 54.1%. 

Such rates fail to meet the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations that children should breastfeed exclusively (no other food, water or infant formula) for approximately the first six months, followed by incorporation of appropriate complementary foods, and continue breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired by the parent and child. Due to the extensive research exhibiting the health benefits of human milk, the AAP recently updated their policy statement which supports continued breastfeeding - along with complementary foods - for two years and beyond - in alignment with the World Health Organization. 

Studies show that breastfed infants are less likely to develop ear infections, respiratory illnesses, diabetes, some childhood cancers and sudden unexplained infant death syndrome (SUIDS/SIDS) and less likely to become obese later in life compared to formula fed infants. Additionally, research estimates that if 90% of Americans breastfed exclusively for six months, greater than 3,330 lives and over $3 billion in health care costs could be saved each year! 

Breastfeeding matters because breast milk: Provides the optimal infant nutrition - contains nutrients, vitamins, antibodies, hormones, growth factors and more that infant formula cannot; Keeps families healthy by protecting babies and parents from illnesses; Lowers health care costs and saves lives; Protects the environment, as it requires no packaging and results in fewer cans and bottles in landfill; Is not susceptible to infant formula recalls or shortages. 

Breastfeeding support can be found in key areas throughout Colorado communities, including: hospitals (especially Baby-Friendly certified hospitals), health care providers, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition and local breastfeeding coalitions, La Leche League (LLL), breastfeeding friendly employers and schools, child care providers, as well as family, friends and partners. 

The Colorado WIC Program provides breastfeeding education and support to Colorado families. WIC supports low-income families by providing highly nutritious food packages purchased at participating grocery stores, free access to breastfeeding information and counseling, breast pumps, community resources and referrals, and parent-to-parent support through the Breastfeeding Peer Counselor program. 

To utilize the valuable breastfeeding information and resources available at your local WIC office, contact Amy Eriksen, WIC Program Coordinator and Family Wellness Program Director at 970-708-4365, or aeriksen@ourayco.gov. You can also visit ColoradoWIC.com or refer a family at ColoradoWICSignUp.com. 

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