World Breastfeeding Week Arrives in Spokane

World Breastfeeding Week Arrives in Spokane

Jul 31, 2014

SRHD supports fifth annual World Breastfeeding Walk and Celebration

For more information, contact Kim Papich (509) 324-1539 or

SPOKANE, Wash. – July 31, 2014 – Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) announced today that during the week of Aug 1-7, 2014, it will again celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, an annual event that draws attention to the positive health impacts of breastfeeding for both babies and mothers. 

On Saturday, Aug. 2, breastfeeding supporters, such as peer counselors and other WIC staff from the health district’s Women, Infant and Children (WIC) nutrition program, will participate in the World Breastfeeding Walk and Celebration, hosted by the Breastfeeding Coalition of Spokane. The celebration and walk begin at 10:00 a.m. at Riverfront Park’s Red Wagon. At 10:25 a.m., participants are encouraged to join in the Big Latch On, a simultaneous international event where groups of breastfeeding women come together at registered locations to all latch on their child at the same time. The Big Latch On helps focus international attention on communities’ efforts to provide ongoing breastfeeding support and promotion. 

This year's World Breastfeeding Week theme, Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal For Life asserts the importance of increasing and sustaining the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding, which aligns perfectly with the work WIC breastfeeding peer counselors are doing every day. 

“Our peer counselors provide personal, one-to-one attention in assisting with breastfeeding problems and helping moms reach their breastfeeding goals,” said Dr. Joel McCullough, SRHD health officer. “Research shows that peer counselors help to increase not only breastfeeding initiation rates, but help moms breastfeed longer than they would without individualized support.” 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, both babies and mothers gain many benefits from breastfeeding. Human milk provides the most complete form of nutrition for infants. Breast milk is easy to digest and offers breastfeeding infants protection against bacterial and viral infections. Research indicates that women who breastfeed may have lower rates of certain breast and ovarian cancers. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommend that mothers breastfeed for a minimum of one year. Washington state ranks second in the nation for the proportion of infants who are breastfed in the early postpartum period.1 WIC contributes to this success by giving women equal access to breastfeeding education and support. Fifty-eight percent of all infants born in Spokane County participate in the WIC program—of those infants, 87% initiated breastfeeding. 

“Although a vast majority of WIC families are starting with breastfeeding, getting our initiation rates closer to 100 percent would be a win for this community,” said SRHD WIC Manager, Tiffany Schamber. “And where there is even more opportunity for improvement—the message we need to communicate during World Breastfeeding Week—is our breastfeeding duration is too low. At six months, we only have 47 percent of WIC infants still being breastfed.2 Our community can rally to improve these numbers.” 

Worldwide, more than 170 countries celebrate World Breastfeeding Week. Health agencies like SRHD organize activities to help spread awareness about the importance of breastfeeding and the risks of not breastfeeding. 

In addition to the health district’s WIC program and its support of breastfeeding moms, SRHD also has a Wellness Committee that includes worksite breastfeeding support as one of its initiatives. 

For more information about the health district’s support of World Breastfeeding Week or its planned activities, please contact Kristen Bennett at (509) 323-2814, or email at 

For more information and ideas for how to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week 2014, visit More information about WIC and SRHD can be found at SRHD’s website offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips. You can also follow us on Twitter @spokanehealth.

12009 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Immunization Survey results for Washington state
Washington State Department of Health