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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 4, 2007

Twelfth Annual World Breastfeeding Week Walk at the Zoo encourages moms to breastfeed, resulting in healthier babies
Gov. Blagojevich proclaims August Breastfeeding Promotion Month, Human Services Agency participates in statewide activities

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) today joined mothers, families, healthcare workers and public officials for the Twelfth Annual World Breastfeeding Walk at the Henson Robinson Zoo.  The event, co-sponsored by St. John’s Hospital, is held each year to support and promote breastfeeding and kicks off a month of activities throughout the state in support of breastfeeding.   

“Breastfeeding is the natural choice for infant feeding and according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breastfed babies are healthier and smarter babies,” said IDHS Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D. “So, it makes sense to promote breastfeeding and educate new mothers about the important health benefits for their babies.”  
 
Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich proclaimed August Breastfeeding Promotion Month in Illinois.  Illinois continues to promote breastfeeding through local WIC programs, health departments and breastfeeding coalitions.  The proclamation declaring August 2007 as Breastfeeding Promotion Month states the IDHS will continue to establish local links between maternity facilities and community breastfeeding support networks to ensure that all families live, work and receive healthcare in a breastfeeding friendly culture.  The proclamation goes on to say breastfeeding benefits infants, mothers and society through lower health care costs, a healthier workforce, stronger family bonds, and less waste. 

The breastfeeding rate for all women in Illinois is 72 percent, up from 64 percent last year, yet lower than the national average of 73 percent, reinforcing the need to promote and educate mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding. 

Breastfeeding rates in Illinois for women enrolled in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program rose to 62 percent last year, up from 58 percent in June of 2005, 57 percent in June 2004 and 55 percent in June of 2003.    

The increase in breastfeeding reflects an emphasis on education, public awareness and support for nursing mothers.

DHS believes breastfeeding is an important part of preventive health care, providing nursing mothers with short and long-term benefits, including decreased risk of osteoporosis and breast, cervical and ovarian cancers, and reducing the risk for long term obesity.

Breastfed children are half as likely to have any illnesses within the first year as formula-fed children and are 10 times less likely to be hospitalized for any bacterial infection. Research shows that breastfeeding decreases the incidence and/or severity of otitis media or ear infections, diarrhea and respiratory tract infections.  In the U.S., ear infections alone cost more than $1 billion annually in visits to physicians.

Numerous studies of breastfeeding have found a protective effect against sudden infant death syndrome, diabetes mellitus, Crohn’s disease, lymphoma, allergic diseases, and other chronic digestive diseases according to the Centers of Disease Control Guide to Breastfeeding Interventions. Newer studies show breastfed children are smarter and less likely to wet the bed.

The State Breastfeeding Task Force, organized in 1987, continues its mission to make breastfeeding the cultural norm in Illinois, thereby enabling breastfeeding and improving the health of Illinois mothers and babies.

In 2004, Gov. Blagojevich signed the Right to Breastfeed Act, allowing women to nurse in public or private without fear of being asked to leave.  In 2005, the Governor and DHS expanded the breastfeeding peer counselor program.  Thirty-five peer counselor programs provide enhanced breastfeeding promotion and support services to breastfeeding women throughout Illinois. 

Listed below are more events scheduled during August Breastfeeding promotion Month in Illinois.

August 7 - Celebration, Silver Cross Hospital, Joliet  2:00 pm - 4:00 pm, Community Peer Counselors, hospital lactation consultants, general public

August 9 - Breastfeeding Celebration, Alivio Medical Center, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm.

August  10 - 19 -“Baby Café” in Conservation World at Illinois State Fair, West Central Breastfeeding Task Force

August 10, 17, 24  - Grandmothers Tea, Altgeld, 1029 East 130th Street, Chicago, 2:00 pm.

August 13 -  Macoupin Luncheon and employee carnival.  Games to educate and promote breastfeeding

August 15 - Breastfeeding Luncheon, Mile Square Health Center, 2045 West Washington Boulevard, Chicago, 11:00 am

Lake City  5th Annual Breastfeeding Mothers Tea:   all pregnant and breastfeeding women! Networking, sharing, supporting, food and raffle prizes will be provided at the Mother’s Teas at all clinic sites.
• August 21st - Zion at 4:00 p.m.
• August 22nd - BMB at 10:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
• August 29th – North Shore at 3:00 p.m.
• August 29th - Midlakes at 11:00 a.m.
• August 30th - North Chicago at 2:00 p.m.

August 24 - Breastfeeding Celebration and Walk, Chicago Department of Health and Chicago Region Breastfeeding Task Force Chicago, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm    August 31 - Annual Breastfeeding Month Celebration “ The 1st Hour Saves 1 Million Babies”, 2:00 pm, 1170 N. River Road, DesPlaines, Opportunity to socialize with other breastfeeding mothers and learn more about breastfeeding.  Guest speaker: Loren Goodman, LaLeche League; door prizes, raffle, refreshments.

August- September  Mobile Nursery at the DuQuoin State Fair, Southern Illinois BF Task Force



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