Aug. 1 through Aug. 7, South Dakota joins other states and countries around the globe in celebrating World Breastfeeding Week. This year’s theme, “Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life”, focuses on breastfeeding as a universal solution to improve the health and well-being of women and children.
“Breastfeeding is a natural and optimal way of feeding children, and measures need to be taken to make breastfeeding a nonevent that is universally accepted anywhere at any time,” said Beth Honerman, state breastfeeding coordinator for the Department of Health.
According to the 2016 CDC Breastfeeding Report Card, 83.6 percent of South Dakota mothers start breastfeeding. Unfortunately, the rate of mothers who continue breastfeeding at six and 12 months remains low at 53.4 and 31.8 percent, respectively. Honerman noted that the Department of Health is committed to making breastfeeding in South Dakota successful by providing professional support through community health offices with staff that are International Board Certified Lactation Counselors (IBCLCs) and Certified Lactation Counselors (CLCs). In addition, breastfeeding peer counselors are available to serve as mentors and support breastfeeding mothers through the WIC Program.
The Department of Health and its partners have also implemented the Breastfeeding-Friendly Business Initiative in several South Dakota communities to help businesses support breastfeeding employees and customers. To date, more than 575 businesses across the state have signed a pledge to provide an environment where mothers and employees can enjoy a welcoming attitude from staff, management and other patrons while breastfeeding.
In acknowledgement of the importance of breastfeeding as a public health issue, Gov. Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed Aug. 1-7 World Breastfeeding Awareness Week in South Dakota.
To learn more about breastfeeding, contact the Department of Health office in your county (http://doh.sd.gov/local-offices/) or visit www.sdwic.org.
Learn more about the Breastfeeding-Friendly Business Initiative at www.healthysd.gov/breastfeeding.