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SD Department of Health Recognizes World Breastfeeding Week

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, July 22, 2011
CONTACT: Kelli Westley, (605) 367-7498
SD Department of Health Recognizes World Breastfeeding Week
PIERRE, S.D. – From August 1st through August 7th, South Dakota will join the rest of the nation and more than 120 countries around the globe in celebrating World Breastfeeding Week. The annual event commemorates the Innocenti Declaration made by WHO and UNICEF policy-makers in August 1990 to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
This year’s theme established by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy is: “TALK TO ME! BREASTFEEDING – A 3D EXPERIENCE. The focus is on the importance of connection between mother and baby (2-dimensions) as well as the third dimension of support from the health care provider, friend, family member, or citizen.
The most recent CDC data indicates that 76.9% of mothers initiate breastfeeding in South Dakota. And while these numbers are fairly encouraging, the percentages of women who continue breastfeeding at 6 and 12 months, as well as rates of exclusive breastfeeding, remain low and stagnant. What these numbers tell us is that most mothers want to breastfeed but continue to face multiple barriers and do not receive the support that they need to be successful. Communication at every level is essential to provide this needed support.
The South Dakota Department of Health Women, Infants, and Children’s (WIC) program recognizes this year’s theme as an important opportunity to encourage the sharing of knowledge and experience across generations, genders, sectors, and cultures to provide a wide network of support for breastfeeding mothers. We live in a world where individuals and global communities connect across small and great distances, with new lines of communication being created daily. We need to take advantage of every available information channel to broaden our horizons and spread important breastfeeding messages beyond our immediate time and place. 
In acknowledgement of the importance of breastfeeding as a public health issue, Governor Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed August 1-7 World Breastfeeding Week in South Dakota.
To learn more about breastfeeding, check the South Dakota Department of Health website at www.bestfeeding.org.