Director of Nursing, Wood County Health Department
Gov. Ted Strickland is urging all Ohioans to support breastfeeding during Breastfeeding Awareness Month in August.
The theme is “Breastfeeding-a vital emergency response. Are you ready?” Breastfeeding provides better health outcomes than formula feeding for both the mother and baby. It also provides unequaled protection against malnutrition and disease during disasters, emergencies and economic downturns. Breast milk is a free, safe and reliable food source for infants and young children.
There have been many reported instances of children being kept alive during disasters by breastfeeding. During an emergency, the breastfeeding mother and her family have the comfort of knowing that the baby has a safe and adequate food supply available as long as necessary.
All citizens need to be prepared for any situation. Pregnant women and their families should aim to breastfeed. Families need to think about how they would feed their baby if clean water, sterile bottles and formula or even shelter were not available. This is especially important in this economic downturn where breadwinners are losing their jobs and sometimes families are losing their homes.
The Centers for Disease Control reports that Ohio’s breastfeeding initiation rate of 59.6 percent ranks 44th in the nation. We can do better. All elements of the community should cooperate and support breastfeeding mothers so that babies can be assured of a free, safe and reliable food source whenever disaster strikes.
For more information about breastfeeding please call the Wood County Health Department WIC office at 419-352-8402.