Babies In Broome Were Born To Breastfeed

     BINGHAMTON, NY - The Broome County Health Department and the Southern Tier Breastfeeding Coalition remind you that August 1-7, 2004, is World Breastfeeding Week (WBW). Over 120 countries celebrate World Breastfeeding Week.

The theme for this year's WBW is: Exclusive Breastfeeding: the Gold Standard--Safe, Sound Sustainable. The theme, chosen by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), encourages increased understanding of the importance of exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of a child's life.

Exclusive breastfeeding means an infant will be fed only breast milk and no other foods or liquids except vitamins, mineral supplements or medications. After six months, continuation of breastfeeding with the addition of complimentary foods is recommended.

Exclusive breastfeeding is:

  • Safe because breast milk provides protection against common illnesses such as respiratory illnesses (colds, flu, and pneumonia), intestinal illnesses (vomiting, diarrhea), and ear infections.
  • Sound because the nutrients found in human milk are made just for human infants. Breast milk is continually changing to meet the needs of the growing child and has protective effects against obesity, asthma and diabetes.
  • Sustainable because breastfeeding provides an infant with a source of food that is always available.

"Breastfeeding is the superior method of infant feeding and every baby should have the opportunity to be breastfed," said Linda Nixon, Lactation Consultant for the Broome County Health Department's Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC). Currently, between 60 - 73 percent of new mothers in Broome County were breastfeeding exclusively when they left the hospital. This is low when compared to the Healthy People 2010 goal of 75 percent of new mothers. Unfortunately the number of women in Broome County who continue to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months is reportedly very low, though this information is not reliably documented. Nationally, the lowest rates of breastfeeding are among lower income and African American women.

World Breastfeeding Week will be celebrated in Broome County in several ways: (1) A month long radio and television campaign promoting breastfeeding, called "Loving Support," sponsored by the Steps to a Healthier New York grant; (2) A "Lactation Station" at United Health Services' Stay Healthy Center in the Oakdale Mall will be available for Mom's who work and shop at the Mall to breastfeed in a private, comfortable place; (3) A "Breastfeeding Booth" at the annual Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally, sponsored by the Southern Tier Breastfeeding Coalition, will offer breastfeeding Moms an opportunity to take time out to breastfeed in a comfortable, supportive environment; and (4) La Leche League, a worldwide organization that helps breastfeeding mothers, held a celebratory Support Group meeting at the PAL Resource Center, 45 Lewis Street, Binghamton, on August 2. "We intend to celebrate breastfeeding during the week and increase awareness among Broome County residents about the benefits of breastfeeding, while offering breastfeeding families the support that they deserve," Nixon said.

For more information on breastfeeding, contact Linda Nixon at the Broome County Health Department at 607.778.2845.