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Breastfeeding Month Palm Beach County

By Public Health Communications

August 09, 2017

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

IN PALM BEACH COUNTY CELEBRATES

NATIONAL BREASTFEEDING MONTH

Palm Beach County, FL--The Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County is celebrating National Breastfeeding Month in August. This year's theme—Charting the Course Together—focuses on using data and measurement to build and reinforce the connections between breastfeeding and a broad spectrum of other health topics and initiatives.

"Breastfeeding is very beneficial to a newborn. It supplies good nutrition, helps create a mother and child bond and leads to a healthier child, said Dr. Alina Alonso, Director, DOH-Palm Beach.

The department is working to promote breastfeeding as a vital health activity, and encourages breastfeeding-friendly hospitals, child care facilities, work places and communities.

How to feed a new baby is one of the first important decisions a family has to make, and most women who choose to breastfeed have a specific goal in mind.

Research shows:

•Breastfed infants have a reduced risk of infections, asthma, obesity and SIDS comparedwith formula-fed infants;

•Mothers who breastfeed have a reduced risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer andpostpartum depression compared to mothers who don't breastfeed;

•It's estimated that $13 billion would be saved per year if 90 percent of U.S. infants werebreastfed exclusively for six months.

To reach the goal of exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months mothers need supportive work policies, infant and child-care at or near the workplace, and private facilities for expressing and storing breastmilk. It takes time and practice to learn how to breastfeed, both for mother and baby, and to establish a good milk supply.

Healthiest Weight Florida within the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention, in partnership with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Healthy Start, and the Florida Child Care Food Program, has a variety of tools available for mothers and families, as well as employers, childcare facilities, and hospitals and health care professionals. Visit http://www.healthiestweightflorida.com/activities/breastfeeding.html for more information.

As part of the department’s Healthiest Weight Florida initiative, the Baby Steps to Baby Friendly project focuses on increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration among Florida women. Baby Steps to Baby Friendly supports hospitals wishing to improve and enhance maternity care practices related to breastfeeding, including achieving the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, developed by the World Health Organization.

The department is currently partnered with 57 hospitals across the state, and in Palm Beach County Lakeside Medical Center has earned their Baby Friendly designation, with more expected this year. To learn more about Baby Steps to Baby Friendly, visit: http://www.healthiestweightflorida.com/activities/baby-steps.html

Locally WIC offers resources and staff to help breastfeeding mothers. WIC offers breast pumps for exclusively breastfeeding clients who are going back to work or school, and loaner breast pumps for babies in the NICU. The Greenacres and West Palm Beach 45th Street WIC sites have International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have a high level of specialized knowledge in breastfeeding to assist clients. WIC also has trained breastfeeding peer counselors in Lantana, Delray, Belle Glade, Jupiter and Greenacres health centers. The trained peer counselors are chosen from the same socio/economic/ethnic groups as WIC clients and have successfully breastfed their own babies. Breastfeeding peer counselors provide mother-to-mother basic breastfeeding education and support to pregnant and breastfeeding moms. Breastfeeding mothers may also receive afterhours support through a warm-line ran by the peer counselors.

The local agency has the following activities occurring during the month of August:

• Exclusively breastfeeding mothers will receive a certificate of achievement for making the choice to breastfeed;

• WIC clients will receive various giveaways;

• WIC staff will participate in a site contest tailored to the theme;

• A forum encouraging fathers to support breastfeeding will be held on Aug 23 during Black Breastfeeding Week;

• The annual 2-hour breastfeeding update will take place on August 31. Staff will have an opportunity to receive continuing education credits. The winner for the contest will also be announced

For more information about the Florida WIC program call 1-800-342-3556, In Palm Beach County 561-877-693-6703 or visit www.FloridaWIC.org. To learn more about National Breastfeeding Month and the benefits of breastfeeding visit www.usbreastfeeding.org, www.llli.org or www.flbreastfeeding.org.

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