LANSING – To help promote early breastfeeding success and positive outcomes, August has been declared Breastfeeding Awareness Month in Michigan.
Lack of promotional and educational efforts about the benefits of breastfeeding has resulted in lower breastfeeding rates in many communities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2018 Breastfeeding Report Card, 77.7 percent of Michigan mothers have ever breastfed. However, that number drops to 55.6 percent at six months of age and 34.6 percent at 12 months.
“Breastfeeding, even for a short amount of time, can have a significant positive impact on the health of mothers and babies” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health. “But balancing work, school, family, life and breastfeeding takes commitment and a supportive community. Michigan is dedicated to expanding public understanding of the critical impact breastfeeding has on improving the health of infants and mothers.”
To help increase breastfeeding in Michigan, MDHHS is implementing strategies from the State Breastfeeding Plan and Mother Infant Health Equity Improvement Plan including:
- Providing scholarships to Michigan Women, Infants and Children (WIC) staff to advance their breastfeeding credentials to provide better support to clients.
- Employing two community breastfeeding liaisons at Henry Ford Hospital and Hutzel Women’s Hospital in Detroit.
- Working to strengthen relationships with breastfeeding coalitions focused on helping women of color.
Activities are planned throughout the state to draw attention to the importance of breastfeeding for the health and well-being of mothers and children. In addition, Aug. 25-31 has been named Black Breastfeeding Week by Governor Whitmer.
A Community Breastfeeding Walk is Thursday, Aug. 15, starting at 10 a.m. at the Lansing Capitol. The purpose of the event is to bring awareness and change to the systems that impact breastfeeding families across the state. This year’s walk is hosted by MDHHS Maternal Infant Health program, MDHHS WIC, Michigan Breastfeeding Network, Willow Tree, DJ Fudgie, Expectant Parents Organization and Next Generation Lactation Service.