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Promoting Breastfeeding Access for Working Moms Focus of Month Long Campaign

By FDOH Alachua Staff

July 31, 2015

This August, the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County is celebrating National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Expanding the Baby Steps to Baby Friendly initiative that increases breastfeeding initiation and duration, Alachua County is working to promote breastfeeding as a vital health activity and encourage breastfeeding-friendly hospitals. In addition, Health Department staff are promoting similar programs in child care facilities and across the community. Paul Myers, Administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County stated, "Breastfeeding is a key strategy in the Department's number one priority; helping all citizens achieve a healthiest weight."

Julie Samples, Assistant Chief Nursing Officer at North Florida Regional Medical Center stated, "We clearly want to work with community partners, such as the Health Department and the Healthy Start Coalition to advance breastfeeding and to support other community efforts". In 2014, North Florida Regional Medical Center created 'Women and Wellness,' an online community dedicated to women's health. During August, Women and Wellness is turning the spotlight on breastfeeding, and TV news coverage on WCJB-TV20 will include reports on the topic. The website will be updated with articles from breastfeeding moms, lactation consultants, providers and other experts. Please visit www.womenandwellness.com during August to learn more and to become a member.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mothers who breastfeed their children are at a healthier weight on average than those who do not. They also have a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, breast and ovarian cancer. Children who are breastfed have a lower risk for developing respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, asthma, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

For the month of August, all Alachua WIC breastfeeding mothers will receive breastfeeding certificates acknowledging their breastfeeding success.  WIC special educational theme of the month will be support for breastfeeding mothers, including the U.S. Department of Labor Nursing Mother’s Law requiring employers to give breastfeeding mothers reasonable time and place to pump in the workplace.

Two notable community events include:

Wednesday, August 5th   10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Atrium at UF Health Shands Hospital
1600 SW Archer Rd

Community Breastfeeding Event Celebrating Shands Hospital's New Baby Friendly Hospital Designation!  Learn about breastfeeding and the support available in our community.  Cake & punch will be served.

September 4th 10AM-12 PM 
Alachua County Healthy Communities Meeting
Main Conference Room
224 SE 24th St. Gainesville, FL 32641

Baby Steps to Baby Friendly presented by Susie Tanner IBCLC, MPH WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator

To reach the goal of exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months, mothers need supportive maternity leave policies, flexible work hours, infant and child-care at or near the workplace, and private facilities for expressing and storing breastmilk. It takes time and practice to learn how to breastfeed, both for mother and baby, and to establish a good milk supply.

To help new mothers find breastfeeding support, a newly revised North Central Florida Breastfeeding Support Resource List  is posted on the Alachua County DOH website http://alachua.floridahealth.gov.

Healthiest Weight Florida is a public-private collaboration bringing together state agencies, nonprofit organizations, businesses and entire communities to help Florida's children and adults make consistent, informed choices about healthy eating and active living. To learn more about how to be active and make nutritious food choices visit www.healthiestweightflorida.com.

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