The first week in August is designated as World Breastfeeding Week and is a time to celebrate success in advancing the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding across the world. Here in Allen County, much is being done to continue to increase the numbers of mothers who initiate breastfeeding after birth and also increase the number of mothers and families who continue to breastfeed once they leave the hospital. We strive to support each mother and family reach their personal breastfeeding goals.
Many times the decision to breastfeeding is made while you are pregnant and could possibly be made during one of your OB-GYN appointments. To assist mothers and their support team in making the best decision, multiple handouts covering a wide variety of topics were created and provided to all OB offices across the county. These resources were made possible through support of our local hospitals and WIC office as well as through funding through the Partnerships to Improve Community Health grant. Topics discussed include why you should choose to breastfeed, the importance of skin to skin after birth, storage and handling of breastfeeding, and many more. These resources can also be found at www.ActivateAllenCounty.com in the breastfeeding section of the site. The goal of these resources is to assist mothers in making an informed decision around breastfeeding using facts and answering common questions in an easy to read and understand format.
The hospitals are also doing their part to ensure that mothers who are planning to breastfeed are able to do so successfully and have the support that is needed to begin breastfeeding after birth. Ohio, through partnership with the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Hospital Association, launched a statewide initiative for hospitals to receive recognition and support in achieving The 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. This program is free and voluntary for any hospital in the state to join. For every 2 of the ten steps achieved, they are awarded a star and can earn up to 5 stars total. Currently, all three Allen County hospitals are participating in this program and working to reach 5 star status. All of our hospitals also offer breastfeeding classes and support groups to ensure mothers have every needed resource to reach their breastfeeding goals.
There is still much work to be done in advancing the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding here in Allen County and around the world as well. Whether you are a mom, a dad, an employee, a business owner, or a community member, everyone can play a role in this effort. From being informed about why breastmilk is the best first food for your infant, to creating an atmosphere at work that supports mothers who wish to continue to provide breastmilk to their infant after going back to work, to supporting a family member or friend who is planning to or is breastfeeding- we all have a part to play. Please visit the Activate Allen County website to view more breastfeeding resources including the handouts mentioned above, a Maternal-Infant Resource Guide, a guide for returning to work while breastfeeding and how employers can support their employees in breastfeeding. For questions or more information, please call the Activate Allen County office at 419-221-5035.