Health Department Celebrates August as Breastfeeding Awareness Month

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The month of August is recognized as Breastfeeding Awareness Month in Ohio. Research suggests that breastfeeding is a key variable for disease incidence for both mothers and infants.

In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Ohio’s breastfeeding initiation rate was 79.5%, ranking the state 41st for breastfeeding across the US. In 2018, 64.6% of Lucas County infants were breastfed at least once.

Shannon Jones, Interim Health Commissioner, says “Breastfeeding is a proven factor in reducing the risk of infection, disease, and overall infant mortality rates. Society as a whole benefits from having healthier mothers, babies, and children when breastfeeding is promoted and supported.”

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department has two Board-certified lactation consultants on staff. TLCHD encourages, supports, and is excited to promote breastfeeding during the month of August:

  • TLCHD’s breastfeeding staff is assisting with the creation of multiple social media campaigns sharing how working moms are supported through the Health Department.
  • Through OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank, the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department serves as a drop-off location for donated breastmilk, stored in a freezer at -21 degrees, then shipped to Columbus to be pasteurized and distributed. TLCHD has accepted donated breastmilk since the beginning of 2021, however, donors must be screened and approved prior to donating.
  • TLCHD houses a private area for all Lucas County employees to pump breastmilk during their workday. TLCHD encourages and supports working moms by providing a comfortable and secluded space. TLCHD also works with local employers to establish similar spaces to support employees who are breastfeeding.
  • TLCHD’s breastfeeding consultants will attend for any visitors who have questions or concerns about breastfeeding at the Farmers Market on August 17. Many visitors may be WIC participants and can benefit from having access to this resource.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and continued breastfeeding with the addition of appropriate solid food for the first two years.