August is Breastfeeding Promotion Month in Illinois

July 29, 2014 

Januari Smith (217) 558-1544

Special events will highlight health benefits of breastfeeding

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois - Governor Pat Quinn declared August as Breastfeeding Promotion Month in the state of Illinois. The proclamation aims to increase public awareness of breastfeeding as the normal and expected way to feed all babies in Illinois.

This year's theme "Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal - For Life!" helps put focus on the lifelong benefits of breastfeeding, for both mother and infant.

"Research has shown there are many benefits of breastfeeding," said Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Secretary Michelle R.B. Saddler. "Babies who are breastfed are protected against respiratory and ear infections, asthma, allergies, childhood cancer and obesity. Mothers who breastfeed have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease."

Breastfeeding events will be held throughout the state, and will include ice cream socials, pool parties, baby fairs and celebrations with games and activities to educate residents about the importance of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding advocates in more than 120 countries worldwide will celebrate World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7) with the theme "Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal - For Life!" Every year millions of people use this opportunity to take action to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

The 2013 CDC Breastfeeding Report Card shows that Illinois breastfeeding rates continue to improve. More than 75 percent of Illinois women breastfeed and almost 50 percent continue to breastfeed at six months.

Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) agencies work with area hospitals to provide seamless support as moms come home from the hospital and transition back to work and school. Through the statewide Breastfeeding Peer Counselor program, moms receive one-on-one support from experienced breastfeeding moms to initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies. The "Breastfeeding is Smart Business" program and the Breastfeeding Friendly Hospital Working Group bring together WIC agencies and community advocates to help improve the breastfeeding environment in Illinois as we move to becoming a breastfeeding friendly state.

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WHEREAS, exclusive breastfeeding is the foundation for life-long health and wellness; and,

WHEREAS, exclusive breastfeeding is recommended and supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics and many other health organizations for providing benefits that are not received by partially breastfed infants; and,

WHEREAS, infants and young children receiving human milk are provided with some protection against serious long term health conditions including obesity, respiratory and ear infections, asthma, allergies, diarrhea, childhood cancers, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and less than optimal brain development; and,

WHEREAS, breastfeeding women have reduced incidence of ovarian and breast cancers, diabetes and cardiovascular disease; and,

WHEREAS, breastfeeding promotes strong family bonds while providing economical and societal benefits through lowering health care costs; and,

WHEREAS, establishing donor human milk banks ensures all infants have access to human milk; and,

WHEREAS, in the event of a disaster depriving people of food, shelter and resources needed to survive, breastfeeding is the first line of defense for safe infant feeding; and,

WHEREAS, government leaders provide guidance on implementing the Illinois Blueprint to Breastfeeding, and hospitals pursue Baby-Friendly designation, while health care providers support the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding; and,

THEREFORE, I, Pat Quinn, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim August 2014 as BREASTFEEDING PROMOTION MONTH in Illinois to uphold a mother's decision of a healthy beginning for her child and to encourage our Illinois employers and businesses to support the needs of breastfeeding mothers.