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Portrait Of A Young Woman Breastfeeding A Child; national breastfeeding month

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala.—The decision to breastfeed an infant is a choice mothers make with great care. While there are multiple ways to be sure an infant is properly fed, there are a multitude of benefits to making the choice to breastfeed an infant.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System human sciences program team is highlighting national breastfeeding month with a content series. The series is geared toward providing education on a variety of topics to breastfeeding mothers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 25 percent of infants are still exclusively breastfed at six months. Similarly, less than 60 percent of infants are still breastfed at all when they reach six months of age. These statistics are lower in the southeastern part of the country than in the rest of the United States.

Alabama Extension Breastfeeding Friendly Certification

Alabama Extension began educating daycare and childcare centers on the importance of proper breastmilk storage and preparation in 2019. To date, more than 35 childcare centers have completed the training and are certified breastfeeding-friendly.

Alabama Extension Regional Human Diet and Nutrition Agent, Christina Levert, said the certification is important because there are so many misconceptions about breastfeeding and breastmilk.

“In a state with low breastfeeding rates, many childcare providers are unaware of the differences between breastfed and formula-fed infants,” Levert said. “Through our research, we determined this was hurting the breastfeeding journey of many moms in Alabama.”

The Alabama Breastfeeding Friendly Childcare Certification works to educate childcare centers and provide resources for workers and mothers as they navigate the breastfeeding journey together.

National Breastfeeding Month 2021

The theme for National Breastfeeding Month 2021 is Every Step of the Way. Each year since 2011, the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) has highlighted a breastfeeding-related topic in August.

According to the USBC, the group envisions “a world in which every family is supported at every step along the infant feeding journey, with warm and coordinated hand-offs and transitions so that the needs of lactating families and those who support them are anticipated and met, every step of the way.

The Alabama Extension human sciences team hopes to provide resources to help Alabama families navigate every step of the breastfeeding process by highlighting several topics throughout the month.

  • Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom
  • Breastfeeding Benefits for Baby
  • Can Working Mothers Breastfeed
  • When to Introduce Complementary Foods
  • How Will I Know if I Make Enough Milk?
  • Breastfeeding Diet

Additional topics will also be discussed.

“National Breastfeeding Month is a great time to highlight not only the benefits of breastfeeding, but the roles we all play in breastfeeding support,” Levert said. “Human Sciences Extension believes in improving the lives of all Alabamians. We recognize that supporting the breastfeeding family is part of that.”

National Breastfeeding Month Webinar

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the USBC are hosting the educational webinar, “Continuity of Care in Breastfeeding Support: A Blueprint for Communities” Aug. 24 at 1 p.m. ET. The blueprint of the webinar aims to increase implementation of community-driven approaches that ensure breastfeeding support services are continuous, accessible and coordinated. It also seeks to encourage communities to have spaces that are consistently supportive of breastfeeding families. People can register for this launch event webinar through the NACCHO website.

More Information

For more information about breastfeeding, or about the Alabama Extension Breastfeeding Friendly Childcare Certification, visit www.aces.edu. Individuals may also contact Levert for more information about the certification and requirements.

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