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 August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month
 Provide Support for Breastfeeding Mothers
08/03/16 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO –  August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month (BAM) in Ohio with August 1 through 7 being World Breastfeeding Week. Breastfeeding plays a key role in preventing disease for both mothers and infants. This year’s BAM theme in Ohio is Breastfeeding Protects: Mom, Baby, and Earth.
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports Ohio’s 2014 breastfeeding initiation rate of 70.1% ranks 43 in the nation. 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 lifesaving benefits of breastfeeding, all elements of the community should cooperate and support breastfeeding,” said Licking County WIC Program Director, Todd Kirkpatrick.  “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. For a free "Breastfeeding Welcome Here" sign, please contact WIC or reply to this email. 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.
 
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 Licking County, please call the Licking County WIC Program at (740) 349-6474.
“The Licking County Health Department serves more than 160,000 citizens in the Licking County General Health District by preventing disease, protecting the environment and promoting healthy lifestyles with a vision of healthy people living in healthy communities.”
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Media Contact: Public Information Officer, obiggs@lickingcohealth.org (740) 349-6488

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