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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 27, 2011

IDHS Launches New Initiative for Supportive Breastfeeding Environments

SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) joins Health Connect One and the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health to launch a 5-year plan that will help create more supportive environments for breastfeeding mothers. Efforts will focus on workplace, community and hospital environments, as well as on systems and policies to lend more support to breastfeeding mothers.

The Illinois Breastfeeding Blueprint will be launched at the 2011 State Conference “Breastfeeding Perspectives in Today’s World” on April 27-28, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield. With a registration of over 500, this is the largest breastfeeding conference in the state and provides an opportunity for advanced education, networking, problem solving and agency sharing. Participants include staff from local WIC agencies, lactation consultants, La Leche League members, community organizations, physicians’ offices, and health departments.

The Illinois Breastfeeding Blueprint will bring a special focus to breastfeeding activities in Illinois.  This initiative will bring together stakeholders from across Illinois to help expand and set priorities, develop benchmarks for success and implement a five-year timeline for promoting and supporting breastfeeding awareness activities and efforts throughout the state of Illinois.

As part of the committee developing the Blueprint, IDHS provided state data and looked at education and awareness activities in place to promote and support breastfeeding.  Working together with community partners, IDHS identified needs and made recommendations to help move breastfeeding forward in Illinois.

IDHS promotes breastfeeding through the WIC program and through The Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program which provides specialized services to breastfeeding women and babies.  The agency also supports the Illinois State Breastfeeding Task Force along with 10 regional task forces as they promote awareness and education.

For more information, please contact Brenda Matthews, State Breastfeeding Coordinator at brenda.matthews@illinois.gov or (312) 793-1643.



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