For Immediate Release: Aug. 8, 2006
Contact: Communication Office
BURLINGTON – Govenor Jim Douglas has declared August as Vermont Breastfeeding Month in an effort to remind Vermonters that breast milk provides optimal nutrition, enhances brain development and lowers a child’s risk of becoming overweight or obese.
Encouraging mothers to breastfeed their babies is a key strategy of the Fit & Healthy Vermonters state plan for the prevention of obesity. Breastfed babies learn to regulate their appetites by stopping eating when they are full, and also have lower levels of insulin, a hormone that promotes storage of fat.
“Breastfeeding is a powerful ally in the State of Vermont’s drive to reduce chronic care issues associated with overweight and obesity problems,” said Sharon Moffatt, RN, MSN, Acting Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health. “Thirty-one percent of costs associated with chronic disease are directly attributable to obesity. Breastfeeding can make a significant impact throughout a person’s life by reducing the prevalence of obesity.”
Breast milk is a natural and a complete form of infant nutrition and provides antibodies that protects infants and helps fight off infection and disease.
Newborns typically nurse eight to 12 times in a 24-hour period and the longer, early feedings are an optimal time to provide a healthy start both physically and emotionally for infants.
“Vermont women should feel good about breastfeeding and nurturing their baby whenever it is convenient for the mother and child,” Moffatt said. “Vermont encourages breastfeeding in any location where the mother and child are allowed, as a state we prohibit breastfeeding discrimination.”
Studies show that breastfeeding a baby for a full year provides children with a tremendous boost that improves their overall health throughout their life.
Health department offices across the state will recognize the month through promotion of peer support programs, recognition of breastfeeding friendly work places, and a variety of initiatives designed to increase public acceptance of breastfeeding.
For more information on the benefits of breast feeding and local resources for nursing mothers, please visit healthvermont.gov.