Ohio Leaders Proclaim August as Breastfeeding Awareness Month, Member Hospitals Recognized

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted proclaimed August as Breastfeeding Awareness month. OHA and the Ohio Department of Health partner to sponsor the First Steps for Healthy Babies breastfeeding recognition program to promote, protect and support breastfeeding in Ohio maternity hospitals.

A newly recognized OHA member in the First Steps program is Genesis Hospital. Three member hospitals advanced to the next level in the program: Southern Ohio Medical Center, MetroHealth Medical Center and McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital.

The DeWine administration’s proclamation highlights the importance and key benefits for mother and baby while breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends at least six months of breastfeeding for newborns “provides the best possible start to life in all areas of development.”

A breastfed infant can experience health benefits including a decreased risk of developing obesity later in life, reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome, fewer ear and respiratory infections and an increased IQ at age 6.5 years old.

Mothers can expect benefits such as a lower BMI, blood pressure, triglycerides, waist circumference and LDL cholesterol. Breastfeeding their children also lowers their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and depression.

Not only is breastfeeding beneficial to the mother and child, but also to the environment and economy. It saves an estimated $13 billion per year in health care costs and decreases energy used to dispose container waste.

Tracy Jennings, WIC Director for Delaware, Morrow and Union counties pushes for businesses and communities to support breastfeeding mothers to feel comfortable nursing in public.

“Breastfeeding is a personal choice, but communities play a vital role in informing and supporting a mother’s decision to breastfeed her baby,” said Jennings. “Returning our communities back into a breastfeeding supportive culture will take efforts by family, friends, employers, educational institutions, hospitals and businesses.”

For more information about breastfeeding from OHA, click here.