August Is Breastfeeding Awareness Month

BELLAIRE — The Women, Infants and Children program in Belmont County is joining in the observance of August as Breastfeeding Awareness Month in Ohio and of World Breastfeeding Week through Tuesday.

Research suggests that breastfeeding is a key modifiable factor for disease for both mothers and infants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that Ohio’s 2016 breastfeeding initiation rate of 77.7 percent ranks 38th in the nation.

For this year’s Breastfeeding Awareness Month, Ohio will adopt the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action theme: Breastfeeding, Foundation of Life. This theme focuses on breastfeeding as a key to preventing hunger and malnutrition by ensuring food security for babies.

By decreasing the burden on household income, breastfeeding provides a low-cost way to feed babies which contributes to poverty reduction.

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 life-saving benefits of breastfeeding, all elements of the community, must cooperate and support breastfeeding,” said Linda Mehl, WIC director in Belmont County. “Ultimately, our whole society benefits from having healthier mothers, babies and children when breastfeeding is promoted, protected and supported.”

For details about breastfeeding in Belmont County, call the Help Me Grow Helpline at 1-800-755-GROW or Belmont County WIC at 740-676-2232.