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South Dakota Supports Breastfeeding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Tuesday, August 4, 2020

CONTACT: Megan Hlavacek, MS, RDN, LN, CLC

(Megan.Hlavacek@state.sd.us) 605-598-6277


South Dakota Supports Breastfeeding

PIERRE, S.D. – In acknowledgment of the importance of breastfeeding to the health of South Dakota, Gov. Kristi Noem has proclaimed August 2020 Breastfeeding Awareness Month in South Dakota.


South Dakota joins other states and countries around the globe in celebrating the first week of August as World Breastfeeding Week. This year’s theme is “Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet” as each ounce of mother’s milk counts toward a healthy environment, healthy body, healthy mind, and healthy community.


Breastfeeding significantly impacts the health and wellbeing of mothers and babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests breastfeeding for at least one year and exclusively for the first six months.


“The health benefits for mom and baby increase proportionately with the length of time a mother breastfeeds,” said Megan Hlavacek, State WIC Outreach & Breastfeeding Coordinator. “Therefore, the longer a mother breastfeeds the greater the reduction in risk of infectious diseases, SIDS, ear infections, respiratory illness, childhood obesity, and certain childhood cancers compared to formula-fed infants and greater reduction in risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure for the breastfeeding mother.”


The South Dakota Department of Health WIC program is committed to supporting mothers through peer and professional breastfeeding support. The WIC program staffs over 35 Certified Lactation Counselors (CLCs) and 1 International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in WIC clinics across the state. WIC also supports the Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program that provides peer support for WIC mothers 24 hours a day through phone, email and text.


“Breastfeeding’s significant health impact starts with the mother-baby dyad but creates a ripple effect of social, economic and environmental benefits to families, communities, and the state. Long term breastfeeding success requires a strong support system from fathers, families, employers, childcare centers, healthcare providers, and community members,” said Megan Hlavacek.


The South Dakota Breastfeeding-Friendly Business Pledge is one-way communities can show their support for breastfeeding mothers. Over 675 worksites across the state have taken the online pledge to support customers, visitors, clients, and employees. All pledged businesses display a Breastfeeding Welcome Here window cling to publicly and visually show their support.


All types and sizes of South Dakota worksites can take the pledge including for-profit businesses, non-profit organizations, hospitals, clinics, childcare centers, schools, colleges, universities, technical schools, churches, public buildings, pools, parks, recreation centers, and many more.


Organizations can take the pledge at www.healthysd.gov/breastfeeding.


To learn more about breastfeeding, contact the Department of Health office in your county (https://doh.sd.gov/local-offices/child-family-services), or visit https://sdwic.org/.


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