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Press Release

Breastfeeding Support for New Mothers Can Make a Big Difference
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Maternal and Child Health Section
Publish Date:
April 7, 2014

Concord, NH – With 8 out of every 10 New Hampshire mothers choosing to breastfeed their infant after delivery, more and more mothers are returning to work and asking their employer to provide a breastfeeding friendly workplace. In 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act introduced an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act to require Break Time for Nursing Mothers. This federal law mandates a minimum level of workplace support for nursing mothers and requires employers to provide reasonable break time and a place to express milk for up to the infant’s first year of life. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is also encouraging breastfeeding through such actions as the Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award and the Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Award.

"Breastfeeding promotion and support is an important part of our public health message within the Division of Public Health Services," DHHS Public Health Director Dr. José Montero. "Many of our programs that provide services to the women of New Hampshire include breastfeeding promotion and support services, such as our WIC Nutrition Program, the Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Program, our Home Visiting Program, SIDS Program and our state-funded Community Health Centers. We recognize the importance of supporting mothers who choose to breastfeed and value the public health reward, such as reduced rates of obesity, type 2-diabetes, and cardiovascular disease."

Last year, DPHS teamed up with the New Hampshire Breastfeeding Task Force to launch a Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award. The award was presented to employers who are establishing and maintaining comprehensive, high-quality lactation support for their employees. Employers are encouraged to apply for this annual award this year.

This year, DPHS and the New Hampshire Breastfeeding Task Force have teamed up again to promote a Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Award. This award is open to all New Hampshire licensed child care providers who are providing the highest level of breastfeeding support within their program to support nursing mothers and infants, as well as employees. As more employers and child care providers join the recent movement to support breastfeeding mothers, the opportunity to meet the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months will become achievable for more working mothers.

"We recognize that mothers want to provide the best health and nutrition for their babies," said Montero. "Research clearly shows that exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months provides optimal nutrition. New Hampshire is ready to follow the recommendations of the AAP and the US Surgeon General and take action to make it a reality for working mothers in the Granite State."

The DPHS Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Section and the Maternal and Child Health Section continue to work collaboratively to promote, support, and encourage breastfeeding for all pregnant women and new mothers. To learn more about current and past initiatives, visit the NH DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/nhp/wic/breastfeeding.htm.

This breastfeeding initiative is one of the topics DHHS is focusing on in recognition of National Public Health Week, April 7–11 (#nphw #nhphw). For more information on NPHW visit www.nphw.org.

 
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