For Immediate Release
August 3, 2009

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

Governor Proclaims August 1-7 as Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Governor Mark Parkinson and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) are encouraging Kansans to increase the awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and its important and positive long term effects on the growth and development of infants.

Parkinson has signed a proclamation recognizing August 1 – 7, 2009 as Breastfeeding Awareness Week.  In the proclamation the Governor encourages breastfeeding during the first six months of infancy and longer as it is the best way an infant can obtain the nutritional and emotional resources needed during the first year of life.

“Breastfeeding promotes overall health, growth and development for infants by preventing infections during infancy, as well as asthma, obesity, diabetes and other chronic illnesses in childhood and later adulthood,” said Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, state health officer and director of health for KDHE.  “In addition to the benefits for infants, breastfeeding is also a benefit to mothers by advancing the recovery from postpartum depression and decreasing the risk of ovarian, uterine and endometrial cancers, as well an anemia, diabetes and osteoporosis.”

During Breastfeeding Awareness Week it’s important to recognize the important role employers can play in making sure that women have the opportunity to breastfeed throughout the first six months of infancy, or longer.  Making accommodations to allow for breastfeeding at work has benefits for not only women and children, but employers, through health care cost savings, higher morale, a strong sense of loyalty among women employees and greater awareness of a positive, family-friendly image in the community.
More information on breastfeeding, and its benefits, can be found at: http://www.kansaswic.org/breastfeeding/.