A Vital Emergency Response
Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is joining State, national and international public health agencies in celebrating World and New Hampshire Breastfeeding Week 2009, August 1-7. The theme this year focuses on the benefits of breast-feeding in emergency situations, such as interrupted water and electricity, as well as in every day life.
“In New Hampshire we do not routinely experience disasters,” said Public Health Director Dr. José Montero, “however, in the last few years New Hampshire has seen its share of flooding and ice storms resulting in the loss of both electricity and loss of water supply for our residents. When these things do happen breast-feeding is the safest and most convenient way to feed babies in these situations as well as in every day life. Breast-feeding also results in healthier babies, as well as mothers, and we encourage all mothers to strongly consider breast-feeding.” Breast-feeding helps keep mothers and babies connected, and is nutritionally sound; it also protects infants from illness, especially from diarrhea and respiratory illnesses.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s, National Immunization Survey, for 2005 births, New Hampshire’s breast-feeding initiation rate is 75.3%, the 6-month rate is 46.8%, and the 12-month rate is 23.9%. New Hampshire’s exclusive breast-feeding rate is reported as 35.5% at 3-months and 9.8% at 6-months.
Governor John Lynch will be issuing a proclamation during New Hampshire Breast-feeding Week. In addition, WIC clinics and hospitals will be holding celebrations for new mothers and prospective mothers to recognize the healthy choice to breastfeed their babies. Health care providers and community agencies are also encouraged to hold events and activities in recognition of World Breastfeeding Week. Ideas for activities can be found at www.worldbreastfeedingweek.org.
For more information on breast-feeding initiatives in New Hampshire, contact Maureen Gilbert-Thibault, IBCLC, at the WIC Nutrition Program at 603-271-3858, or The New Hampshire Breastfeeding Task Force at www.nhbreastfeedingtaskforce.org