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South Dakota Observes World Breastfeeding Week

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Wednesday, July 26, 2017

CONTACT:  Beth Honerman, (605) 367-7498


South Dakota Observes World Breastfeeding Week


PIERRE, S.D. – Aug. 1-7 South Dakota joins the rest of the nation and countries around the globe in celebrating World Breastfeeding Week 2017. The theme of this 25th annual observance is “Sustaining Breastfeeding Together” to focus on working together to encourage, protect and support breastfeeding.

“Nearly 80 percent of South Dakota mothers start breastfeeding but unfortunately, the percentage who breastfeed exclusively or are still breastfeeding at 6 and 12 months is much lower,” said Beth Honerman, state breastfeeding coordinator for the Department of Health. “That tells us that most mothers want to breastfeed but face barriers to do so and don’t always get the support they need to be successful.”

Breastfeeding provides babies with 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.

Honerman noted that the Department of Health and partners in Brookings, Aberdeen and other South Dakota communities launched a Breastfeeding-Friendly Business initiative earlier this year to help businesses support breastfeeding employees and customers. To date more than 300 businesses across the state have signed online pledges to provide an environment where mothers can enjoy a welcoming attitude from staff, management and other patrons while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding-friendly businesses also work to accommodate employees by allowing appropriate time and space necessary to pump.

In acknowledgement of the importance of breastfeeding as a public health issue, Governor Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed Aug. 1-7 World Breastfeeding Awareness Week in South Dakota.

To learn more about breastfeeding, contact a department office in your county, http://doh.sd.gov/local-offices/ or visit the department’s www.sdwic.org website.

Learn more about the Breastfeeding-Friendly Business Initiative at http://www.healthysd.gov/breastfeeding.

Increasing the proportion of mothers who breastfeed their babies is a key performance measure of the Department of Health’s 2015-2020 strategic plan objective to reduce infant mortality and improve the health of infants, http://doh.sd.gov/strategicplan.

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