Health department promotes breastfeeding

Health department promotes breastfeeding "Increasing breastfeeding rates to improve infant and family health in South Dakota is a Department of Health goal," said Clay County Community Health Nurse Jill Munger.

Breast milk provides the best nutrition for infants and also protects against specific infections, diseases and allergies. It also promotes maternal and infant bonding.

"Research shows that breast milk enhances babies' growth, brain development and physical development, helping get them off to a good start in life," said Munger. "The health benefits of breastfeeding can also mean lower health care costs and reduced employer costs. Parents don't have to take as much time off from work if their child is sick less due to the immunity provided by breast milk."

Munger said Aug. 1-7 has been proclaimed World Breastfeeding Week in South Dakota by Governor William J. Janklow to recognize its importance as a health issue. The theme this year is Breastfeeding: Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies. Participants in the observance are the members of the South Dakota Breastfeeding Coalition which includes the Department of Health, SDSU Cooperative Extension Service, the Indian Tribal Organization WIC programs, Northern Plains Healthy Start, Early Head Start, La-Leche League, Sioux Valley Hospital, Avera McKennan Hospital, Rapid City Regional Hospital, SDSU College of Nursing, USD School of Medicine, Sacred Heart Medical Clinic, Avera St. Lukes, independent lactation consultants and practicing physicians.

To learn more about breastfeeding resources, contact the Clay County Community Health Services at 677-6767. The Department of Health Web site also offers a series of pamphlets at http://www.state.sd.us/ doh/Pubs/index.htm.

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