Take notice that August is World Breastfeeding Awareness Month

August is World Breastfeeding Awareness Month. This year’s theme is “Close to Mothers”.

We know that breastfeeding is the best health insurance available for our children.

Not only is breastfeeding free for the family, the amount of health care dollars breastfeeding can save the state is truly tremendous. Breastfeeding is the best prevention against SIDS.

Here in Mississippi, we have the lowest breastfeeding rate in the entire country. We need to look at and consider why we also have the highest infant mortality rate.

Along with saving lives and lowering the risk of many ailments and diseases, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months lowers the chance of obesity in children, another major challenge Mississippi faces. What about mothers? Among many other health advantages, breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast cancer in mothers, and that risk continues to decrease with the length of breastfeeding. With that fact, we *do* know how to help prevent breast cancer.

The theme “Close to Mothers”, which expresses the importance of breastfeeding support for mothers, is particularly significant in Mississippi. The International Lactation Consultant Association states,” Despite mothers choosing to breastfeed, many are met with multiple and complex barriers that keep them from achieving their personal breastfeeding goals. Support and encouragement from all angles can make success possible for mothers who wish to breastfeed. Negative attitudes and practices of the mother’s closest support network can pose a sizable barrier, making it difficult for mothers and babies to breastfeed.”

Elizabeth Brooks, President of the International Lactation Consultant Association, says: “Learning how to breastfeed takes time and patience for new mothers and infants. It is important to remember that families, friends, healthcare providers, employers, childcare providers, communities, and even the media play a crucial role in mothers overall success with breastfeeding.”

Objectives of World Breastfeeding Week 2013 center around various forms of support, especially noting the importance of Peer Support in helping mothers not only establish, but also sustain breastfeeding. Two goals are to unite efforts to expand peer counseling programs, and also to encourage breastfeeding supporters to step forward and be trained to help mothers and babies. Another goal is to identify local community support contacts for breastfeeding mothers to educate, assist, and provide continued support

La Leche League International is a Mother-to-Mother support network with local groups in Louisville, Starkville, and Columbus. Pregnant women and mothers can attend monthly meetings, receive phone consultation, and even seek help and support on a Facebook group page. The WIC Program – Women, Infants, and Children — accessed through local health departments, provides breastfeeding education, assistance, support, and breast pumps for many mothers meeting certain qualifications. Oktibbeha County Hospital Regional Medical Center provides a newborn follow-up clinic where mothers can receive continued assistance with breastfeeding soon after leaving the hospital. OCH Regional Medical Center, in affiliation with the WIC Program, provides a lactation clinic where classes are held, breastfeeding assistance is provided, breast pumps are issued, and babies can be weighed.

During the month of August, check out the display on breastfeeding at the Winston County Library. Help yourself to the free pamphlets, coupons, and information that is available.

Celebrate World Breastfeeding Awareness Month!

Here’s to the hope of Mississippi embracing the normalcy of breastfeeding

as the infant feeding practice, and watching its breastfeeding initiation and duration rates climbing to greater heights, in which will follow a healthy future.

The following is a list of local contact names and numbers:

La Leche League — Louisville: Bonnie 662-773-3911or 662-803-6307.

— Starkville: Alicia 662-694-9083

Jennifer 662-324-1596, Mandi 662-791-1663, Linda 662-324-3944,

— Columbus: Chelsea 719-213-9613, Christina 662-425-4322. Facebook page: La Leche League of Starkville/Columbus.

WIC Breastfeeding Winston County 662-803-6307 or 662-773-3911.

OCH Regional Medical Center Newborn Clinic 662-615-2946

OCH/WIC Lactation Clinic 662-615-3368