July 28, 2014

(PETERSBURG, Va.) —World Breastfeeding Week will be celebrated worldwide August 1-7, 2014. The 2014 World Breastfeeding theme is Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life! Experts acknowledge that when mothers and babies succeed in their breastfeeding plans, they can enjoy a lifetime of benefits. Health Departments across the Crater Health District will be celebrating World Breast Feeding Week.

Infant feeding is one of the most important decisions a family can make, and most women who choose to breastfeed have a specific goal in mind. Research shows that babies who receive only breast milk for the first six months of life are less likely to develop a wide range of chronic and acute diseases, including ear infections, diarrheal diseases, asthma, obesity, and respiratory illnesses. Mothers also benefit from breastfeeding with a decreased risk for breast and ovarian cancers. “Breastfeeding ensures babies get the healthiest start possible. To achieve their goals for breastfeeding, mothers should seek the information, care, and support they deserve,” emphasizes Alton Hart, Jr., MD, MPH, and Director of Crater Health District.

To reach the goal of exclusive breastfeeding, mothers need a team of helpers and healthcare professionals to support them. This breastfeeding team can include family, friends, physicians, nurses, midwives, employers, and childcare providers.  Together, the breastfeeding team provides information to boost confidence, gives reassurance, and lends a hand to help breastfeeding mothers succeed. Team members with special skills and knowledge about breastfeeding, such as a peer counselor or an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, are especially helpful.

“Crater Health District’s WIC Program plays an instrumental role in the marketing and support of breastfeeding mothers,” says Paula Allen, WIC Coordinator. WBW will be celebrated at the Petersburg Health Department during the entire month of August.  An exhibit will be displayed demonstrating how the “team approach” in supporting WIC breastfeeding mothers enhances their experience and enables success. The community is invited to attend a breastfeeding class located at the Petersburg Health Department 301 Halifax Street Petersburg, VA on August 4, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.