INDIANAPOLIS—Thursday, August 1 begins World Breastfeeding Week, a global initiative to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and celebrate the efforts of all who embrace breastfeeding as the cultural norm. In conjunction with the worldwide celebration, Governor Pence has declared August 1-7 as Breastfeeding Week in Indiana.
“Breastfeeding protects babies by providing the ultimate infant nutrition,” said Joan Duwve, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at the Indiana State Department of Health. “Breastfeeding Week is a great way for Hoosiers to recognize the value and importance of breastfeeding and demonstrate support for breastfeeding moms.”
Breastfeeding promotes overall health, growth and development of infants. It reduces infant mortality by protecting the infant against infectious diseases and has been shown to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of developing asthma, obesity, diabetes and other diseases in childhood and later adulthood. And the physical contact of breastfeeding provides comfort and security to infants. Mothers benefit from breastfeeding too. Breastfeeding provides a quiet time for mothers to bond with their babies and decreases the risk of postpartum depression. Breastfeeding is also economical because there is no formula to buy and healthier babies mean fewer visits to the doctor. In addition, breastfeeding has been shown to decrease the risk of ovarian and breast cancer, as well as type 2 diabetes.
National estimates suggest that if 90 percent of U.S. babies were breastfed exclusively for six months, nearly 1,000 infant deaths would be prevented, and the nation would save $13 billion per year in health care costs.
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated internationally August 1-7 each year. This year’s theme, “Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers,” highlights the importance of support for breastfeeding mothers from others such as family, friends and breastfeeding peer counselors.
The Breastfeeding Week proclamation will be read by Dr. Duwve at the Indianapolis 2013 Big Latch On, an event hosted by Indy Breastfeeding Moms that will attempt to break the World Record for the most women breastfeeding simultaneously. The official “latch on” begins at 10:30 a.m. on August 3 at the Rivera Club in Indianapolis. Several Big Latch On events will take place around the state. For more information and to register, visit http://www.biglatchon.org/locations/indy-breastfeeding-moms-big-latch-on .
For more information on breastfeeding or to see a copy of the Breastfeeding Week proclamation, visit www.StateHealth.in.gov . Follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1 .