For Immediate Release: July 31, 2023
Ben Truman │ Vermont Department of Health
802-316-2117 / 802-863-7281
Vermont Celebrates World Breastfeeding Week
Events throughout Vermont being held in support of infant health
BURLINGTON, VT – World Breastfeeding Week 2023 begins on August 1st, and the Department of Health along with communities around Vermont will showcase the important health benefits breastfeeding has for both infants and parents, and the supports available to make it an easy choice.
This year’s global celebration will highlight the theme Enabling Breastfeeding - Making a difference for working parents, and how breastfeeding-friendly employers and communities are key partners in building a healthy Vermont where people want to live, work, and raise a family.
The Health Department encourages breastfeeding (also referred to as chestfeeding) for the health benefits and bonding opportunities it provides for the lactating parent and the baby. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancers and postpartum depression among adults, and promotes health, nutrition and growth benefits for babies — including enhanced cognitive development and a reduced risk for chronic diseases. Breastfed babies also have a reduced risk of severe lower respiratory disease, ear infections and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome (SUID).
“World Breastfeeding Week is a perfect opportunity for people to learn about the available supports for working new parents,” said Deb Kitzmiller, a public health nurse with the Department’s Brattleboro Local Health Office. “There is a lot to manage when you are a new parent. Expectant and new parents can take comfort in knowing that they can reach out to their local health and WIC office, the Children’s Integrated Services (CIS) team, Parent Child Center, or can simply dial 2-1-1 to be connected to the help and supports they need.” People can find these local resources at HealthVermont.gov/Breastfeeding.
Vermont is a leader in breastfeeding initiation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 91.5% of babies in the state receive human milk shortly after birth. However, by the age of 6 months, the rate of babies who are exclusively breastfed drops to 36.8%. This coincides with the time many parents return to the workforce.
Jackie Lindamood is a registered dietitian nutritionist and international board-certified lactation consultant with the Springfield Local Health Office. “Returning to work is a huge factor in one’s initial decision to breastfeed, and we know that returning to the workplace is known to decrease breastfeeding duration. Fortunately, we are a state with supportive employers,” said Lindamood. Vermont employers can support their staff by signing up as a Breastfeeding Friendly Employer. Visit HealthVermont.gov/Breastfeeding-Friendly-Employers to learn more.
Breastfeeding in places of public accommodation, such as schools, restaurants, stores and other facilities serving the public, is protected by state law. In 2008, the law was amended to include protections for employees, and in 2022 President Biden signed the PUMP Act (Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers), ensuring that nursing employees are entitled to adequate and paid pump breaks with access to a private space that is not a bathroom, and are protected against discrimination.
- Learn more about breastfeeding in Vermont: HealthVermont.gov/Breastfeeding
- Find your Local Health Office: HealthVermont.gov/Local
Here’s What’s Planned in Vermont for World Breastfeeding Week (Aug. 1-7):
Virtual Latch On
Join other breastfeeding/chestfeeding parents across the state for a virtual latch on and celebrate your feeding journey. Get ideas for lactation-boosting treats and bring your questions, as lactation experts will be available.
This event is organized and hosted by the Brattleboro, Springfield, and White River Junction Local Health Offices.
DATE: Monday, August 7, 2023, 2:00 to 2:30 pm
PLEASE REGISTER to let us know you are coming. Register either by following the links OR scan the QR code:
Events Happening Around Vermont
Throughout the month of August, look for “Breastfeeding Standees,” life-sized cut-outs of breastfeeding people, that recognize breastfeeding-friendly workplaces around Vermont.
Bennington Events — https://www.facebook.com/vdhbennington
Wear gold or yellow on August 3 to "Go Gold for World Breastfeeding Week." Staff at the Bennington Vermont Department of Health invite families and community partners to wear gold or yellow and post a photo to Facebook, tagging @Vermont Department of Health – Bennington, so the photos can be shared throughout the day. Learn more about the significance of wearing gold here.
Brattleboro Events — https://www.facebook.com/vdhbrattleboro
The Department of Health and the Brattleboro Area Prevention Coalition (BAPC) are partnering to provide free lactation friendly “Mocktails” at Gallery Walk in Brattleboro on Friday, August 4 from 5:00 to 9:00 pm.
Middlebury Events — https://www.facebook.com/vdhmiddlebury
Don’t forget to take a walk through the Middlebury Food Co-Op entryway between August 1 and 7 to view posted pictures and stories about breastfeeding/chestfeeding journeys submitted by local families. Interested in sharing your story? Share your story by emailing [email protected].
Morrisville Events — https://www.facebook.com/vdhmorrisville
Join the Morrisville Vermont Department of Health at “Tuesday Night Live” at Legion Field, 55 School Street in Johnson on August 8 from 5:45 to 7:45 pm. An infant comfort station will be set up and Farm to Family coupons will be available for participants of the WIC nutrition program. Additionally, there will be lead testing kits and other resources and giveaways.
Rutland Events — https://www.facebook.com/vdhrutland
Participate in a Breastfeeding ROCKs scavenger hunt August 1-7. Visit the Vermont Department of Health – Rutland Facebook page to find daily clues about where six gold rocks with breastfeeding affirmations are placed in local Rutland parks. Take a picture with rocks you discover and share on Facebook. Tag @Vermont Department of Health – Rutland to enter yourself into a raffle to win a Vermont State Park Single Day Use pass!
The Rutland Local Health Office will also host an Infant Comfort Station at the Vermont State Fair, August 15 – 19. The comfort station will offer shaded cover, rocking chairs, and privacy screens where families can relax and feed baby while visiting the fair.
St. Johnsbury — https://www.facebook.com/vdhstjohnsbury
Visit the Danville Fair on August 5 and the Caledonia County Fair between August 23-27 and stop by the "Rock & Rest" stations, where families can find a quiet, private place to care for their infants. The stations will offer comfortable chairs to nurse and comfort babies, a diaper changing station, and resources for families.
St. Albans - https://www.facebook.com/vdhstalbans
Look for breastfeeding displays in various locations throughout the community during World Breastfeeding Week, including the State Office building, St Albans Free Library and Alburgh Public Library. If you spot our “Breastfeeding Standees”, snap a picture with them and post on our Facebook page.
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About the Department of Health
We have been the state's public health agency for more than 130 years, working every day to protect and promote the health of Vermonters.