Health and Family Services Cabinet
Kentucky celebrates Breastfeeding Awareness Month; Mothers’ milk benefits babies’ health and well-being
FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 30, 2007) – August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month in Kentucky, and the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action has declared Aug. 1-7 as World Breastfeeding Week.
This year’s theme is “Breastfeeding: The First Hour – Welcome Baby Softly.” Throughout the month, health agencies have organized many activities promoting and supporting breastfeeding in Kentucky, such as the Rock and Relax Room at the Kentucky State Fair, co-sponsored by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).
“Support for breastfeeding and breastfeeding mothers is growing in Kentucky,” said Becky Derifield, CHFS breastfeeding promotion coordinator. “For women who are pregnant or plan to have children one day, it’s worth the time to learn about breastfeeding and ask questions of their health care providers.”
Breastfeeding a newborn provides the skin-to-skin contact and warmth that babies need most, especially premature and low birth weight babies. New scientific evidence reveals that if all women started breastfeeding within one hour after delivery, it could prevent 1 million of the 4 million deaths of babies worldwide who die during the first month of life.
“Mothers truly can help shape the future of their children’s health by choosing to breastfeed,” Derifield said.
Early initiation of breastfeeding reduces high neonatal mortality worldwide, protects infants from early exposure to bacteria and viruses, increases maternal oxytocin important for milk production and attachment, and helps prevent maternal blood loss.
Preterm infants benefit from breast milk because of the greater amounts of protein, fat, sodium, iron, chloride and other nutrients than milk from mothers of term infants. Breast milk changes to meet the needs of babies as they grow.
Skin-to-skin contact is another important component of breastfeeding. When a mother is nursing her infant, the warmth of the mother’s body helps regulate the baby’s temperature and heart rate. Skin-to-skin contact also serves as a pain analgesic, reduces infant crying and lowers stress levels in mothers.
At the Kentucky State Fair, CHFS, Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness and Baptist East Hospital are co-sponsoring the Rock and Relax room in the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center’s South Wing. There, mothers can privately and comfortably nurse their babies. Health experts will be on hand to answer questions about breastfeeding and parenting. The fair is Aug. 16-26 at Louisville’s Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center.
For more information about breastfeeding, log on to http://www.chfs.ky.gov/dph/ach/ns/breastfeeding.htm.
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