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Baby bottles with breast milk

August is National Breastfeeding Month. In 2011, the United States Breastfeeding Committee declared August National Breastfeeding Month to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.

The National Breastfeeding campaign for this year, 2021, is Every Step of the Way. This theme emphasizes the importance of support for the breastfeeding family every step of their breastfeeding journey.

The age-old saying, “it takes a village” is true for many families and breastfeeding families are no different. While it is important for moms and babies to have access to lactation resources while in the hospital, the support should not end there. Moms, dads, and babies continue to need support from everyone around them. 

There are many benefits for breastfed babies and benefits for breastfeeding moms. Despite this, the breastfeeding rates in Alabama are alarmingly low. According to the Center for Disease and Control (CDC) 60 percent of mothers stop breastfeeding sooner than they planned. How long a mom breastfeeds can be greatly impacted by several factors. Some of those include education and encouragement from family and surrounding environment, policies and supports in the workplace, and access to community support. 

Supporting a breastfeeding family can happen in many ways. It can be as simple as encouragement. A store, restaurant, or other public building offering a nursing space for mothers is a great show of support and encouragement for breastfeeding. 

A breastfeeding family surrounded by an environment that normalizes and supports the needs of a breastfeeding family greatly increases the chances of that baby being breastfeed for a longer period. The longer a baby breastfeeds, the greater the benefits to mom, baby, and society. 

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