August recognized as Breastfeeding Awareness Month in Ohio

Press Staff Writer

        The month of August is recognized as Breastfeeding Awareness Month in Ohio. Research suggests that breastfeeding is a key variable for disease incidence for both mothers and infants.
        In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Ohio’s breastfeeding initiation rate was 79.5%, ranking the state 41st for breastfeeding across the US. In 2018, 64.6% of Lucas County infants were breastfed at least once.
        Shannon Jones, interim health commissioner of the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department says, “Breastfeeding is a proven factor in reducing the risk of infection, disease and overall infant mortality rates. Society as a whole benefits from having healthier mothers, babies and children when breastfeeding is promoted and supported.”
        Jones said the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department has two board-certified lactation consultants on staff. TLCHD encourages, supports and promotes breastfeeding during the month of August through the following initiatives:
        • TLCHD’s breastfeeding staff is assisting with the creation of multiple social media campaigns sharing how working moms are supported through the health department.
        • Through OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank, the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department serves as a drop-off location for donated breastmilk, stored in a freezer at -21 degrees, then shipped to Columbus to be pasteurized and distributed. TLCHD has accepted donated breastmilk since the beginning of 2021, however, donors must be screened and approved prior to donating.
        • TLCHD houses a private area for all Lucas County employees to pump breastmilk during their workday. TLCHD encourages and supports working moms by providing a comfortable and secluded space. TLCHD also works with local employers to establish similar spaces to support employees who are breastfeeding.
        The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and continued breastfeeding with the addition of appropriate solid food for the first two years.


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