Breastfeeding protects mothers and children from illness and disease

Join York Region in World Breastfeeding Week celebrations, October 1 to 7, 2013

In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, The Regional Municipality of York public health nurses and members of Life With a Baby will provide information to residents about the York Region breastfeeding program at Vaughan Mills shopping centre (Community Kiosk, 1 Bass Pro Mills Drive, City of Vaughan) on Saturday, October 5 between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The 2013 theme Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers highlights the importance of breastfeeding support for families. Not only is breastfeeding important to the health of women and children, it is convenient, economical and protects the environment and natural resources. Research shows breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancers, heart disease and osteoporosis. Breastfed children are also shown to have higher IQ, improved school performance and have a decreased risk of contracting the flu and gastrointestinal illnesses, asthma, allergies, type-2 diabetes, obesity, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and certain childhood cancers.
The York Region Infant Feeding Study, conducted in 2009 to 2010, revealed 96 per cent of mothers start breastfeeding their children, however many stop after six weeks and only 30 per cent breastfeed exclusively. Although 66 per cent of mothers continue to provide some breast milk to their baby at six months, only 14.8 per cent were exclusively breastfeeding to six months. At one year of age, only 34 per cent of mothers indicated they were still breastfeeding at all.

As recommended by Health Canada, community breastfeeding programs help develop a supportive environment and promote exclusive breastfeeding for six months with continued breastfeeding for two years and beyond. In addition to women gaining support while breastfeeding from their social network of friends and family, public health nurses and board certified lactation consultants offer individual breastfeeding support through the York Region breastfeeding program. Five clinic locations exist across York Region and appointments are offered to residents at no cost. Telephone consultations are also available.

For more information on breastfeeding and to book an appointment, or for more information on this or any other public health-related topic, please contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653, TTY 1-866-252-9933 or visit www.york.ca/childandfamilyhealth

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