mother holding nursing baby

World Breastfeeding Week – Support Breastfeeding Moms!

On August 1-7, South Dakota will join the rest of the nation and countries around the globe in celebrating World Breastfeeding Week. The goal of the annual observance is to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies worldwide.

77.7% of South Dakota mothers breastfeed—way to go South Dakota moms!
But that percentage significantly drops at 6 and 12 months of age, as does the rate of exclusive breastfeeding. Exclusive breastfeeding means that the infant receives only breast milk. No other liquids or solids are given – not even water – with the exception of oral rehydration solution, or drops/syrups of vitamins, minerals, or medicines. It is recommended to exclusively breastfeed for about 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant.

There are numerous benefits to breastfeeding—for both baby and mom. 
Breastfed babies get more than 200 nutrients and specific ingredients to bolster their health. Breast milk changes as the baby grows, which is one reason the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies be breastfed at least a year and as long as moms and babies want after that. Mothers who breastfeed lose pregnancy weight more easily and reduce their risk of breast, ovarian and, uterine cancer, and osteoporosis.

Breastfeeding is also economical, saving as much as $1,000 in formula costs during baby’s first year.

South Dakota’s breastfeeding rates tell us that most mothers want to breastfeed but continue to face barriers and don’t always get the support they need to be successful. We can all do more to stand behind them! One way businesses in your communities can show their support is by learning about and taking the Breastfeeding-Friendly Business Pledge.

In acknowledgement of the importance of breastfeeding, Governor Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed August 1-7 World Breastfeeding Week in South Dakota. Check out the proclamation!