GCPH provides breastfeeding station at fair

XENIA — Just in time for World Breastfeeding Week, Greene County Public Health officials are inviting moms to utilize the breastfeeding station at the GCPH trailer this week at the Greene County Fair.

The trailer is located between the Assembly Hall and the Fair Office. Information will be available on all public health programs and services, and staff will be on hand to answer questions.

Wednesday, Aug. 1 to Tuesday, Aug. 7 is World Breastfeeding Week (WBW). According to GCPH officials, 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 Week and Month, Ohio is adopting the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) 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 (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) 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 lifesaving benefits of breastfeeding, all elements of the community must cooperate and support breastfeeding.” said Tonja Lively, Greene County WIC Director. “Ultimately, our whole society benefits from having healthier mothers, babies and children when breastfeeding is promoted, protected and supported.”

GCPH are suggesting ways for community members to support breastfeeding:

Businesses and residents can allow mothers to feel comfortable nursing in public. Hungry babies need to eat and Ohio law allows breastfeeding in public. Businesses can show their support by placing the “Breastfeeding Welcome Here” universal sign for breastfeeding in their windows and educate their staffs on the acceptance of breastfeeding in their establishments. They can also encourage their employees and provide a private space (other than a bathroom) to pump. This will increase employee retention and reduce medical costs.

Hospitals can adopt the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding as an indication that they are dedicated to supporting new mothers who choose to breastfeed. By eliminating formula gifts to breastfeeding mothers, they send the message that they believe mothers can make enough milk to breastfeed exclusively.

Educational institutions can support breastfeeding by presenting age appropriate education on the anatomy and physiology of the human body. County fairs can teach young children about how other mammals feed their young with milk that is made just for them. Child care providers and libraries can also stock children’s books that show breastfeeding as a normal part of family life.

Social media can also provide support to breastfeeding mothers through Facebook and Twitter. Breastfeeding mothers can reach out through groups and community forums and get the support they need to feel normal in a formula feeding culture.

Breastfeeding is a personal choice, but communities play a vital role in informing and supporting a mother’s decision to breastfeed her baby, GCPH officials state. Returning communities back into a breastfeeding supportive culture will take efforts by family, friends, employers, educational institutions, hospitals and businesses.

For more information about breastfeeding, call the Help Me Grow Helpline at 1-800-755-GROW or the Greene County WIC Program at 937-374-5641 or visit www.gcph.info.