City of Lincoln - Lancaster County
Judith A. Halstead, MS, Health Director
The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department is promoting World Breastfeeding Week, which is celebrated every year from August 1-7 in more than 170 countries to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. This year's theme is Talk to Me! Breastfeeding-a 3D Experience The goal of the theme is to encourage conversation about breastfeeding's many benefits and to take the conversation beyond that of nutrition and health to a discussion about the benefits for the environment, women's rights, and social advancement. Supporting breastfeeding is worth it for breastfeeding families—as well as employers, the community, and the environment.
Evidence shows that breastfeeding has many benefits for mother and child. Research indicates that breastfeeding reduces an infant's risk for acute and chronic disease, increases mother-infant bonding, fosters growth and development, increases learning ability, and reduces the risk for obesity. Breastfeeding also reduces mothers' risk for type 2 diabetes, and breast and ovarian cancers. A recent Harvard study estimated that the United States would save $13 billion per year if 90% of infants were breastfed exclusively for six months. Benefits for employers who support breastfeeding include reduced staff turnover and loss of skilled workers after the birth of a child, reduced absences for working breastfeeding mothers because their babies are less likely to get sick, lower overall health care costs, and higher employee satisfaction, morale, and productivity.
Breastfeeding is so important for mothers and babies that major medical organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Association of Family Physicians recommend that babies receive nothing but breastmilk during the first six months of life, and continue receiving breastmilk with the addition of nutritious complementary foods for up to two years or beyond.