SRHD supports seventh annual World Breastfeeding Walk and Celebration, shares in theme, Breastfeeding: A Key to Sustainable Development

For more information, contact Kim Papich (509) 324-1539 or kpapich@srhd.org

SPOKANE, Wash. – Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) announced today that during the week of Aug 1-7, 2016, 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. 6, 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 approximately 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 Key to Sustainable Development is about how breastfeeding is a key element in getting individuals to think about how to value human well-being from the start of life, how to respect each other and care for the world we share.

“Breastfeeding significantly improves the health, development and survival of infants and children,” said Kyle Unland, SRHD Health Promotion division director. “Supporting World Breastfeeding Week is a no-brainer for our agency as it contributes to improved health and well-being of mothers in our community, both in the short- and long-term.”

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. In Washington state, only 87.9% of babies start out breastfeeding and just 60.2% are still being breastfed at 6 months. WIC is working to improve these stats by giving women equal access to breastfeeding education and support. Fifty-five percent of all infants born in Spokane County participate in the WIC program—of those infants, 85% initiate breastfeeding.

“Although a vast majority of WIC families are starting with breastfeeding, our duration rates are impacted by a mother’s ability to breastfeed in the workplace,” continued Unland. “Our community should applaud employers who are family/parent/baby-friendly and mother-friendly, those that actively facilitate and support employed women to continue breastfeeding their children.”

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 developed a Worksite Wellness toolkit that offers tips for breastfeeding-supportive workplaces. The health district 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 kbennett@srhd.org.

For more information and ideas for how to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week 2016, visit http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org. More information about WIC and SRHD can be found at www.srhd.org. 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.