Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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August 6, 2010

World Breast-feeding Week

OSWEGO COUNTY - The Oswego County Health Department would like to recognize the importance of breast-feeding during World Breast-feeding Week from August 1 to August 7.

"Research demonstrates that exclusive breast-feeding during the first six months of life with continued breast-feeding during the second six months provides optimal health benefits," said Dr. Dennis Norfleet, Oswego County Public Health Director. "Breast-feeding has been shown to improve infant growth and development. It is also associated with reductions in sudden infant death syndrome; common childhood illnesses, such as ear infections, eczema, pneumonia and diarrhea; and chronic conditions, including obesity and type 1 and type 2 Diabetes. Breast-feeding also benefits mothers by reducing the risk of breast and ovarian cancers."

Breast milk contains antibodies that protect infants from bacteria, and viruses. It also has the right amount of fat, sugar, water and protein that a baby needs and it is much easier to digest. Breast-feeding also helps strengthen the bond between mother and baby.

Breast-feeding helps the body to recover from pregnancy and labor. It shrinks the uterus back to size and reduces bleeding after childbirth. It burns about 500 calories a day, making weight loss easier. It strengthens bones and protects against osteoporosis later in life. It may even help ward off depression.

Breast-feeding saves time and money and, unlike formula, breast milk is always the right temperature and requires no bottles to wash and sterilize.

On May 1, 2010, New York State adopted the "Breast-feeding Mothers' Bill of Rights." This new law provides rights to mothers who choose to breast-feed before delivery, in the hospital and birthing facilities, and in the community once discharged from the hospital or birthing facility. These rights include:

  • The right to information that is free of commercial interests

  • The right to have her baby stay with her immediately after delivery to facilitate breast-feeding

  • The right to ask that no bottles of formula or water be given to her baby

  • The right to have 24-hour access to her baby with the right to breast-feed anytime

  • The right to refuse any gifts or take home packets containing formula

In addition to this new law, New York State labor law 206-C states that nursing mothers can ask for a private place to express or pump their breast milk while at work and that employers must help mothers locate a room. Earlier this year, President Barak Obama signed the healthcare bill. One of the requirements in the bill states that employers must provide "a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk."

For more information about breast-feeding or the new breast-feeding laws, call the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3547.

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