For Immediate Release
July 30, 2010

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

August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week 2010 is August 1 through 7.  This year’s theme is “Breastfeeding; Just 10 Steps!  The “Ten Step” theme commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Innocenti Declaration developed by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF.)  This document calls for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Ten Steps in all maternity facilities to support breastfeeding.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) encourages the benefits of breastfeeding and its important, positive long term effects on the growth and development of infants.

“We promote breastfeeding during the first six months of infancy and longer,” said Roderick Bremby, Secretary of KDHE.  “It is the best way an infant can obtain the nutritional and emotional resources needed during the first year of life.”

UNICEF estimates that more than six million babies are saved every year worldwide through exclusive breastfeeding.   Even in developed countries such as the United States, breastfeeding saves infants and drastically reduces health care costs.  An online study published in the journal Pediatrics in April reported the lives of 900 babies and billions of dollars in health care costs would be saved each year in the United States if 90 percent of United States women breastfed their infants for the first six months 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.”

Research shows that implementation of just some of the 10 steps recommended for maternity facilities improve breastfeeding initiation and duration rates. The Ten Steps recommended are:                                                                     

More information on breastfeeding, and its benefits, can be found at: http://www.kansaswic.org/breastfeeding/