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South Dakota Marks World Breastfeeding Week

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Friday, July 24, 2015
CONTACT:  Rhonda Buntrock, (605) 773-3361  

                                             South Dakota Marks World Breastfeeding Week

PIERRE, S.D. – Health officials are marking World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1-7, by encouraging moms to breastfeed and family members and employers to support them in that choice. The theme for this year’s observance is “Breastfeeding and Work – Let’s Make It Work!” The goal is to galvanize support to enable working mothers to breastfeed.

“Breastfeeding has been nourishing babies for thousands of years with the milk nature has designed especially for them,” said Rhonda Buntrock, administrator of the Women, Infants and Children Program in the Department of Health. “But unfortunately, too many new moms are scared to breastfeed, don’t believe that they can do it, or have maybe never seen breastfeeding.”

Breastfed babies get more than 200 nutrients in addition to specific ingredients that protect their health. Breast milk changes as the baby grows, which is one reason the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies be breastfed at least a year and as long as moms and babies want after that. Mothers who breastfeed lose pregnancy weight more easily and reduce their risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer, and osteoporosis. Breastfeeding is also economical, saving as much as $1,000 in formula costs during baby’s first year.

The most recent CDC data indicates that 77.7 percent of mothers initiate breastfeeding in South Dakota. And while that number is encouraging, the percentages of women who continue breastfeeding at 6 and 12 months, as well as rates of exclusive breastfeeding, remain much lower. The numbers indicate that while many mothers start breastfeeding, they face barriers and a lack of support that make it difficult to continue breastfeeding their babies.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed Aug. 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. 

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