August is National Breastfeeding Month

Published on August 06, 2019

Nursing mother

Weld County — August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week, a time when the world celebrates breastfeeding and builds awareness and support.

Scientific research shows breast milk is uniquely complex and far superior to any formula designed for babies. Health and scientific organizations — such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization — tout breastfeeding as the ideal way to feed an infant and recommend feeding only breast milk for the first six months of a baby’s life and then in combination with complementary nutritious foods for at least one year and for as long as is mutually desired by the mother and baby. Breast milk contains the complete nutrients for an infant’s growth and development, as well as protecting infants from numerous illnesses. Breastfeeding also provides significant health benefits for the mother. Sadly, most nursing mothers do not breastfeed long enough to achieve all the health benefits for themselves and their baby due to barriers, including barriers in worksite and child care settings.

Employers and child care providers play a big role in supporting nursing mothers when they return to work from maternity leave by providing a clean, private area and flexible break time to express breast milk. Expressing breast milk during a work shift ensures mothers will have enough to give to their care giver or child care provider to feed their baby while they are working. Child care providers support nursing mothers by being competent in breast milk preparation, storage and feeding, and encouraging mothers to nurse on-site.

“Employers are finding that lactation support policies not only increase employee satisfaction and retention but also make good business sense because of reduced sick leave. Mothers who formula feed are absent twice as frequently as mothers who feed breast milk due to more infant illness,” said Mike Schwan, Childhood Obesity Prevention Specialist for the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment. Nursing mothers value employers and child care providers who support their breastfeeding goals.

WCDPHE works closely with the Northern Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition, whose mission is to provide the community with breastfeeding support, resources, and education to increase the success and longevity of breastfeeding in Northern Colorado. NCBC provides training and financial assistance to employers and child care providers for establishing lactation areas and policies.

For more information about employer and child care lactation support programs, go to WCDPHE's webpage on breastfeeding support