‘Enabling Breastfeeding’ to be Focus of World Breastfeeding Week Aug. 1-7
OKLAHOMA CITY – World Breastfeeding Week 2023 will be observed August 1-7. This year’s theme is “Enabling Breastfeeding: Making a Difference for Working Parents,” with a focus on the impact of workplace support and paid leave on employed breastfeeding families.
The PUMP (Provide Urgent Maternal Protections) Act, which took effect April 28, 2023, expands the breastfeeding protections provided by the Affordable Care Act of 2010.
The law entitles employees, including teachers, nurses, farmworkers and many others, to a place to pump at work, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public.
“While most new mothers start out breastfeeding, many Oklahoma mothers struggle with continuing to breastfeed, particularly after returning to work from maternity leave,” said Oklahoma WIC Program Breastfeeding Coordinator Adrianna Halstead. “Oklahoma breastfeeding legislation, and the recent PUMP Act provide protections for breastfeeding employees for up to one year after the child’s birth.”
According to the most recent Oklahoma data:
- 86.1 percent of Oklahoma mothers began breastfeeding their babies at birth (If you would like to learn more about the Oklahoma Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) please visit: www.oklahoma.gov/health/PRAMS.)
- 46.5 percent of Oklahoma babies were still doing some breastfeeding at six months or more (If you would like to learn more about the Oklahoma Toddler Survey (TOTS) please visit: www.oklahoma.gov/health/TOTS.)
- 28 percent were still breastfeeding at 12 months or more (The Oklahoma Toddler Survey, 2018-2021)
“We encourage employers to stay informed about laws regarding breastfeeding and cultivate supportive workplaces, so parents can successfully combine breastfeeding and employment,” said Halstead. “We all have a shared responsibility to support breastfeeding, which ultimately improves the health of all Oklahomans.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Healthy People 2030 Objectives emphasize the value of breastfeeding for mothers, as well as children. All recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and then continued breastfeeding up to two years of age or longer, with introduction of appropriate complementary foods at six months.
World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is a global campaign to raise awareness and galvanize action on themes related to breastfeeding. WBW was first celebrated in 1992 by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action and is now observed in over 170 countries.
The Oklahoma WIC (Women, Infants & Children) Program provides healthy foods, nutrition and breastfeeding education and support as well as referrals to healthcare professionals, including International Board-Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs).
The Oklahoma State Department of Health supports breastfeeding as the recommended way to feed babies and encourages actions and education that promote, protect and support breastfeeding and the health of all Oklahoma children. For more information about breastfeeding, how to find a lactation consultant in your area, or how to become an Oklahoma Recognized Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite, please visit www.oklahoma.gov/health/breastfeeding call the Oklahoma Breastfeeding Hotline toll-free at 1-877-271-MILK (6455), or text OK2BF to 61222.