August is National Breastfeeding Month!
According to the 2016 U.S. Breastfeeding Report Card published by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), breastfeeding rates continue to rise in the U.S. Among infants born in 2013, 4 out of 5 (81.1%) started to breastfeed, over half (51.8%) were breastfeeding at 6 months, and almost one third (30.7%) were breastfeeding at 12 months.
Florida tracked national trends during this period with a breastfeeding initiation rate of 81.1%, but reported shorter breastfeeding duration (47.3% at three months and 24.6% at one year).
Notes the CDC, “High breastfeeding initiation rates show that most mothers in the U.S. want to breastfeed and are trying to do so. However, low breastfeeding rates among infants who are 6 and 12 months of age indicate that many mothers do not continue breastfeeding as recommended.”
“These rates suggest that mothers, in part, may not be getting the support they need, such as from healthcare providers, family members, and employers.”
The early postpartum period is a critical time for establishing and supporting breastfeeding. The Florida Breastfeeding Coalition leads several efforts to encourage hospitals, employers and child care centers to adopt policies and practices that support breastfeeding mothers.
For National Breastfeed Month, the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) is coordinating a social media advocacy and outreach campaign to build support for the policy and practice changes needed to build a “landscape of breastfeeding support.” The group has adopted a theme for each week: Policy Pulse (Week 1), Special Circumstances & Emergency Preparedness (Week 2), Call to Action (Week 3) and Black Breastfeeding Week (Week 4).
These activities build on the observation of World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), celebrated every year from August 1-7 to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990 by government policymakers, WHO, UNICEF and other organizations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. This year’s theme is Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life, highlighting breastfeeding as a universal strategy that levels the playing field, giving everyone a fair start in life.