The Oklahoma State Department of Health is promoting World Breastfeeding Week Aug. 1-7 with the theme “Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life.”
The theme focuses on the foundation of lifelong good health that breastfeeding provides for babies and mothers in a world filled with inequity, crisis and poverty.
Breastfeeding is the natural way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Virtually all mothers can breastfeed, provided they have accurate information and the support of their family, the health care system and society at large.
According to Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System data from 2016, 83.9 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 one year of age or beyond as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“Breastfeeding establishes an important foundation for the health of the breastfed infant as well as the mother,” said Amanda Morgan, Breastfeeding Education Coordinator for the Women, Infants and Children Service. “WIC views breastfeeding as a priority and strives to set an example for community support of breastfeeding mothers.”
Data provided in The Oklahoma Toddler Survey from 2014 to 2016 indicate that although the numbers are gradually improving, only 41.5 percent of mothers were breastfeeding at six months and 23.5 percent of mothers were breastfeeding at 12 months or more. The aim of the national Healthy People 2020 breastfeeding objectives is to increase the proportion of infants who are breastfed at six months to nearly 61 percent and at one year to 34 percent.
For more information about breastfeeding, how to find a lactation consultant in your area, or how to become a Recognized Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite, visit the OSDH breastfeeding website http://bis.health.ok.gov, or call the Oklahoma Breastfeeding Hotline toll free at 1-877-271-MILK (6455).