EATON — World Breastfeeding Week will be celebrated worldwide in August 2014. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) celebrates breastfeeding throughout the month of August, otherwise known as Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Preble County Public Health will join these efforts as well to promote and support breastfeeding locally.
The 2014 theme Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life! acknowledges that when mothers and babies succeed in their breastfeeding plans, they can enjoy a lifetime of benefits. Infant feeding is one of the most important decisions a family can make, and most women who choose to breastfeed have a specific goal in mind.
Research shows that babies who receive only breastmilk for the first six months of life are less likely to develop a wide range of chronic and acute diseases, including ear infections, diarrheal diseases, asthma, obesity, and respiratory illnesses. Mothers also benefit from breastfeeding with a decreased risk for breast and ovarian cancers.
To reach the goal of exclusive breastfeeding, mothers need a team of helpers and healthcare professionals to support them. This breastfeeding team can include family, friends, physicians, nurses, midwives, employers, and childcare providers. Together, the breastfeeding team provides information to boost confidence, protects mothers against critics, gives reassurance, and lends a hand to help breastfeeding mothers succeed. Team members with special skills and knowledge about breastfeeding, such as a peer counselor or an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), are especially helpful. “An IBCLC is often the ‘head coach’ for the breastfeeding team, providing unique expertise and guidance for a mother,” said Decalie Brown, President of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA”).
When mothers and babies are able to reach their breastfeeding goals, they also contribute to community prosperity, health, equity, and environmental sustainability. “Healthy, mothers with healthy babies are better able to contribute to household wealth because illnesses do not limit their opportunity to generate income,” said Brown. “Additionally, breastfeeding provides appropriate nutrition for infant growth, sets the stage for school-readiness, and contributes to a cleaner environment with less waste. Together, all of these small contributions add up for improved global health.”
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. Activities scheduled during Breastfeeding Awareness Month locally include a display at the Eaton branch of the Preble County District Library, a Baby Shower at Fort St. Clair, and trainings for local health care providers. If you would like more information about breastfeeding, contact Marilyn Wilson at Preble County Public Health by calling 937-456-5457 or join our Facebook page: Preble County Breastfeeding Support.