World Breastfeeding Week: Supporting Breastfeeding – Together
The Rogers County Health Department joins the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) in promoting World Breastfeeding Week August 1st through 7th. This year’s theme focuses on the importance of working together for the common good. In order to meet breastfeeding duration goals, it is important for mothers to receive support from their community, health care providers, child care providers and employers, as well as their friends and family.
The benefits of breastfeeding extend through infancy and childhood and even into adulthood. Studies have shown that breastfeeding provides children with the nutrients they need to help with development and building a strong immune system. Breastfeeding not only provides nutrition for the baby but has long-lasting positive effects for the mother as well.
The Rogers County Health Department will be giving healthy goodie bags to promote the benefits of breastfeeding and improve the overall health of both the newborn children and their mothers.
Based on the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) data from 2014, 85 percent of Oklahoma mothers began breastfeeding their babies after birth. While most new mothers start out breastfeeding, many do not exclusively breastfeed for six months or continue for up to two years of age as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“We want to help in building a brighter future for all Oklahomans so we are encouraging all of our new mothers to breastfeed their babies for as long as possible,” said Larry Bergner, the Rogers County Health Department Administrative Health Director. “Their ability to provide these nutrients to their babies is crucial for a healthy start.”
Data provided in The Oklahoma Toddler Survey (TOTS) from 2012 to 2015 indicates that although the numbers are gradually improving, only 36 percent of mothers were breastfeeding at six months and 19 percent of mothers were breastfeeding at 12 months or more. This does not meet the national Healthy People 2020 breastfeeding objectives aimed to increase the proportion of infants who are breast-fed at six months to nearly 61 percent and at one year to 34 percent.
“Breastfeeding not only provides nutrition for the baby but has long-lasting positive effects for the mother as well,” said Rosanne Smith, breastfeeding coordinator, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Service. “WIC views breastfeeding as a priority and hopes to set an example for community support of breastfeeding mothers.”
For breastfeeding support and information, call the Oklahoma Breastfeeding Hotline toll free at 1-877-271-MILK (6455) or visit the Oklahoma breastfeeding website at http://bis.health.ok.gov.