Concord, NH – Every year during the first week of August countries, states, organizations, and communities celebrate and encourage breastfeeding. The theme for World Breastfeeding Week in 2011 is focusing on engaging and mobilizing youth with the slogan “Talk to me! Breastfeeding—A 3D Experience.” Breastfeeding support is often seen as two-dimensional: time (from pre-pregnancy to weaning) and place (the home, community, health care system, etc.). Neither has much impact without a third dimension—communication!

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Section, recently released the brief Breastfeeding: New Hampshire 2011 (HOT LINK ONCE POSTED). It lists successes and challenges that many women encounter while breastfeeding during baby’s first year. Successes include ongoing support from family, friends, and healthcare professionals. Challenges include the community environment and the workplace both as crucial factors for achieving individual breastfeeding goals. The data brief identifies the risks associated with formula feeding and early weaning from breastfeeding. For example, the risk of acute ear infection is 100% higher among exclusively formula-fed infants than those who are exclusively breastfed during the first six months.

Three out of four women in New Hampshire initiate breastfeeding after birth while only one in four are still breastfeeding at one year. World Breastfeeding Week is an optimal time to raise awareness of the health and economic benefits of breastfeeding and to educate the public about the risks of not breastfeeding. Communication is an essential part of protecting, promoting, and supporting breastfeeding.

“It is important that mothers and families get all the information they need to be successful at breastfeeding,” said Dr. José Montero. “Good nutrition is essential for proper development of infants and breastfeeding is the perfect way to ensure a healthy start for all infants.”

During World Breastfeeding Week, local WIC programs will be hosting celebrations at their clinics to honor mothers and families. Activities include outdoor picnics, community
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walks, certificate ceremonies, and breastfeeding themed bulletin boards throughout the community.

Each activity recognizes the mothers’ success at breastfeeding while creating awareness for breastfeeding support and promotion in the community. Check out the New Hampshire Breastfeeding Task Force on Facebook. For more information about World Breastfeeding Week, visit http://www.worldbreastfeedingweek.org/ and sign up for Text4baby by texting “BABY” to 511411 to receive helpful messages on your cell phone. To attend an event at a local clinic call 1-800-942-4321.

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