TULSA, Oklahoma - World Breastfeeding Week is coming up and Oklahoma health officials are promoting its theme of working together for the common good.

The week of Aug. 1 through 7 is aimed at providing support to breastfeeding mothers through community, friends, family, and health and childcare providers, according to a news release.

Support is essential to meet breastfeeding duration goals, the Oklahoma Department of Health said in the release.

“Breastfeeding support is critical for a successful breastfeeding relationship,” said Amanda
Morgan, breastfeeding education coordinator at Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Service.

While most new mothers start out breastfeeding, many do not exclusively breastfeed for six months or continue for up to 2 years, as recommended by the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

About 85 percent of Oklahoma mothers began breastfeeding their babies after birth in 2014, according to the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System.

Here are some ways to support breastfeeding, according to the OKDH:

  • As an employer, breastfeeding can be supported by providing flexible break times and a private place for employees to express breastmilk during the workday.
  • Childcare providers can be supportive by properly storing and serving expressed breast milk.
  • Healthcare providers can support breastfeeding by sharing accurate information and referrals to lactation professionals.

For more information, visit the OSDH breastfeeding website at http://bis.health.ok.gov, the Coalition of Oklahoma Breastfeeding Advocates (COBA) website
www.okbreastfeeding.org or call the Oklahoma Breastfeeding Hotline toll free at 1-877-271-6455.