August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, and this year’s theme, “Breastfeeding: Foundation for Life,” highlights the critical importance of breastfeeding to give babies a great start.
It’s been a whirlwind of exciting activities and initiatives all month from grassroots to treetops. Consider that:
- Breastfeeding in public is now legal in ALL 50 U.S. states plus Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands. Mothers in the United States can now feel confident their right to breastfeed is protected in every State!
- More women are breastfeeding than ever before! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just released the new breastfeeding data showing that breastfeeding rates have surpassed the Healthy People 2020’s goal for initiation and duration at 12 months. Today, more than 82% of women breastfeed their babies!
- More than a million babies are now born in hospitals designated as Baby-Friendly. According to Baby-Friendly USA, more than 530 hospitals in all 50 States are now certified.
- Breastfeeding walks and events brought public recognition in communities across the country.
- The 6th annual Black Breastfeeding Week (August 25-31) used the theme #LoveOnTop to highlight the importance of love in overcoming breastfeeding and parenting challenges.
- The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee gathered coalitions and public health leaders across the nation to the National Coalition Conference to energize and mobilize stakeholders to transform communities.
- The USDA WIC Program launched a brand new resource, WIC Breastfeeding Support, with mom-friendly resources for families.
- The HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) released their long-awaited report on the importance of breastfeeding in developed countries. ARHQ showed that community interventions such as WIC peer counselors, the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, and health care professional education/home visits are especially effective in increasing breastfeeding rates.
The momentum continues to grow! Every Mother, Inc. is proud to be a part of the rapidly shifting landscape of breastfeeding support in our country. This month we launch our refurbished website at www.everymother.org to make it easier for families, hospitals, employers, and WIC agencies to access up-to-date breastfeeding resources.
In the midst of celebrating successes, remember there is still MUCH work to be done to expand support for vulnerable families and to reduce disparities. The good news: together...we WILL make a difference!