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South Dakota Observes World Breastfeeding Week

Aug 02, 2019 03:14PM ● By Alyssa McGinnis

In acknowledgement of the importance of breastfeeding to the health of South Dakota babies, Gov. Kristi Noem has proclaimed Aug. 1-7 World Breastfeeding Awareness Week in South Dakota. 

South Dakota joins other states and countries around the globe in celebrating World Breastfeeding Week, this year’s theme, “Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding” focuses on breastfeeding as a team effort. 

“The Health impacts are not just limited to the family but also have an impact on the health of the entire community,” said Beth Honerman, state breastfeeding coordinator. “Breastfeeding is a low-cost way of feeding babies and prevents hunger, undernutrition, and obesity.” 

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 results in numerous health benefits to mothers and babies. Studies show that breastfed infants are less likely to develop ear infections, respiratory illnesses, diabetes, some childhood cancers, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and less likely to become obese later in life compared to formula-fed infants. 

The South Dakota Breastfeeding-Friendly Business Pledge is a way for communities to show their support for breastfeeding mothers. Taking the online pledge acknowledges the business’ or facilities’ support for breastfeeding mothers whether they are customers, visitors, clients, or employees. All pledged businesses display a Breastfeeding Welcome Here window cling to publicly and visually show their support. Organizations can take the pledge at www.healthysd.gov/breastfeeding. 

Starting August 1st businesses can also apply for the Breastfeeding-Friendly Business Grant to receive up to $1,000 to create a new lactation space, improve an existing space, or utilize innovative, space-saving ideas to meet staff breastfeeding needs for employees primarily working outdoors and/or who frequently travel. All types and sizes of South Dakota businesses are eligible to apply such as for-profit 

businesses, non-profit organizations, childcare centers, schools, colleges, universities, technical schools, churches, public buildings, pools, parks, recreation centers, and more. For more information about the grant visit, www.healthysd.gov/fundingopportunities. 

The health benefits of breastfeeding only increase as breastfeeding exclusivity and duration increase. The South Dakota WIC Program provides breastfeeding education and support to families. WIC supports low-income mothers by providing highly nutritious food packages purchased at participating grocery stores, free access to breastfeeding information and counseling, breast pumps, community resources and referrals, and mom-to-mom support through the Breastfeeding Peer Counselor program. 

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