Vermont Business Magazine Communities in Vermont are kicking off World Breastfeeding Week on August first, with an invitation to join with others across the globe to celebrate, promote and learn more about breastfeeding, chestfeeding, lactation, and infant and maternal health. Throughout the week the Department of Health will be highlighting the importance of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls “the clinical gold standard for infant feeding and nutrition.”
Local and worldwide opportunities to participate can be found by visiting healthvermont.gov/breastfeeding. Please also check out the Facebook pages of the local health office that serves your area. Find the Local Health Office pages at healthvermont.gov/local.
As with so much this year, most of the events will be virtual, but that also means more people and their babies can take part in activities like the Big Latch On, and access resources and information. Many of the local office Facebook pages will also feature photos on their Facebook pages of breastfeeding people, along with short stories of their experiences. Look for these, then like, comment and share! Follow World Breastfeeding Week on Twitter: #WBW2020.
Deb Kitzmiller, a public health nurse with the department’s Brattleboro Local Health Office, urged all Vermonters to encourage and support breast/chestfeeding because of its important health benefits. Breastmilk for a baby provides increased opportunities to bond, reduced risk of chronic diseases, and improved cognitive development. People who breastfeed a baby have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and for postpartum depression. “We encourage and work with people and families from all backgrounds to breastfeed or chestfeed, or to give expressed breastmilk to their babies,” said Kitzmiller. “Everyone can call their local health office for supports and information.”
Kitzmiller also said that health equity issues impact infant health. “There are serious local, national and global discussions about health disparities, raised, in part, through the Black Lives Matter conversations, and because of how the pandemic has impacted people of different races and ethnicities,” said Kitzmiller.
According to the CDC, Black babies have a higher mortality rate than babies from other races. One contributor to this may be that, in the United States, Black infants are less likely to be breastfed. In 2016, the national infant mortality rate for Black babies was 11.4 deaths per 1000 births ─ more than double the infant mortality rate of non-Hispanic white babies (4.9 deaths per 1000 births).
“Our work to address health disparities in Vermont is being informed by the data and the discussions we are all having. This also gives us the opportunity to view infant feeding through that lens,” Kitzmiller said.
For more information and supports, visit healthvermont.gov/breastfeeding.
About our Local Health Offices
Vermont’s 12 local health offices provide health services and promote wellness for all. These services include immunizations, WIC and nutrition programs, working with employers to create breastfeeding-friendly workplaces, oral health care, and programs that supporting children with special health needs, as well as helping people to build healthy habits, such as the being physically active, and prevention of chronic disease including substance abuse.
Learn more about the full range of local health services at healthvermont.gov/local.
Find out about Health Equity and what Vermont is doing to address Health Disparities:
Health equity exists when all people have a fair and just opportunity to be healthy, especially those who have experienced socioeconomic disadvantage, historical injustice, and other avoidable systemic inequalities that are often associated with social categories of race, gender, ethnicity, social position, sexual orientation and disability.
Source: BURLINGTON, VT – VDH 7.31.2020