News release from Peoria City/County Health Department:
Join Peoria City/County Health Department in celebrating August as Breastfeeding Promotion Month in Illinois. The celebration is designed to raise breastfeeding awareness and highlight how our community can promote and support mothers to choose breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is healthier for both mom and baby, saves money, and is the natural way to feed babies. Breastfeeding reduces the lifetime risk of obesity for both mom and baby, an important health issue in our community. Breastfed babies also receive protection against infections, type II diabetes, asthma, allergies, and childhood cancers. Breastfeeding mothers have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and lose weight more quickly. An added advantage for breastfeeding is the reduction in costs of infant feeding and illness care for both families and for the community. Breastfeeding also strengthens the special bond between mother and baby.
Curt Fenton, Director of Child and Family Health at Peoria City/County Health Department, states, "Breastfeeding is a critical issue in our community. It may be the most important choice a mother can make when her baby is born. Babies should breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months and continue through 12 months, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics." The newly released Breastfeeding Report Card - United States 2012, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals significant differences in breastfeeding rates between low-income and higher-income families, and between racial and ethnic groups. National goals aim to increase breastfeeding to over 80% by 2020. According to Fenton, only 55% of mothers in Peoria's Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program tried breastfeeding their infants, compared to 70% statewide. Only slightly over a third of Peoria's African American babies on WIC are breastfed.
To support these national goals, the Peoria City County Health Department promotes community awareness of the importance of breastfeeding. Fenton adds, "Under Illinois law, breastfeeding is allowed in public places, and employment laws assure support for breastfeeding in the workplace. Now we need to involve our community to promote breastfeeding. Breastfeeding should start while moms are still in the hospital with baby. As family and friends, we need to surround mothers with support to continue breastfeeding after they go back to work or school. This support can help babies and moms receive the health benefits that breastfeeding can provide."
The Breastfeeding Report Card is available at www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/data/reportcard.htm. For more information about Public Health issues call the Peoria City/County Health Department at 679-6000 or visit our website at www.pcchd.org.
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