Mayor Coleen J. Seng today cut the ribbon on a new employee breast-feeding room at the Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) as part of the celebration of World Breast-feeding Week. Mayor Seng also unveiled a Breast-feeding Resource Guide, developed by the local Breast-feeding: Healthy Kids 2010 community work group.
“I am very pleased to support these efforts to encourage breast-feeding, a very important children’s health issue,” said Mayor Seng. “This new room at the Health Department will make it easier for employees to continue to breast-feed when they return to work. The guide, which will be distributed to expectant parents, will help them understand the importance of breast-feeding their babies and the community services available to assist them.”
The Breast-feeding: Healthy Kids 2010 work group was established by the Mayor’s office in response to the Breast-feeding Initiative passed by the Lincoln-Lancaster County Board of Health in March 2001. The City of Lincoln and Lancaster County developed and implemented an employee breast-feeding policy, which went into effect in May 2001. The Mayor’s office also conducted a summit meeting on breast-feeding in June 2001.
“The work group is helping to implement the U.S. Surgeon General’s Breast-feeding Blueprint for Action,” said Ann Seacrest, Chair of Breast-feeding: Healthy Kids 2010. “That blueprint identifies breast-feeding as a major factor in the health of our infants and our community, and the U.S. Surgeon General recommends that infants be fed breast milk for at least 12 months. Our group is working to increase the number of breast-fed babies in our community by promoting support services, positive images in the media, continuing education for health care providers and data collection.”
Breast-feeding: Healthy Kids 2010 is working with the Lancaster County Medical Society to sponsor a professional development conference for health care providers, called “Breast-feeding: Common Sense and Science.” The conference is set for 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, September 11 at the Medical Society, 5625 “O” Street. Continuing education credits will be offered, and additional information is available from the Medical Society at 483-4800.
According to a 1997 policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “Human milk is uniquely superior for infant feeding,” because breast milk contains a special blend of fats, sugars, minerals, proteins, vitamins and enzymes which cannot be duplicated. The AAP says the benefits of breast-feeding include:
“We cannot ignore the other important social and economic benefits of breast-feeding,” said LLCHD Director Bruce Dart. “These benefits include reduced health care costs and less money spent on infant feeding. It is estimated that our nation spends $7 billion more in health care each year because many infants are not breast-fed exclusively for the first six months of life.”