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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jay Lynch, Communications Director
(302) 540-4979, Cell

Date: July 28, 2011


A mother's ability to begin and continue breastfeeding can be influenced by a host of community factors. Active support from, and communication with, family members, employers and health professionals can determine the success or failure of a mother's breastfeeding experience. On Aug. 4, the Division of Public Health's (DPH) Women Infants and Children program (WIC) will convene a seminar bringing together health professionals, community advocates, business owners and family members to protect, promote and support breastfeeding, through communication at various levels and between various sectors. The free event celebrates World Breastfeeding Awareness Week and will be held at Dover Downs at 1131 North Dupont Highway in Dover from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Guided by the theme, "Talk to me! Breastfeeding - a 3D Experience," Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director, will open the seminar by talking about breastfeeding milestones in Delaware. Jennifer Goldbronn of the Baby Behavior Project in California is slated to deliver the keynote address. The event's purpose is to engage and promote communication among key players and celebrate Delaware's successes while identifying opportunities for growth and improvement.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that three out of four new mothers in the country now start out breastfeeding. However, rates of breastfeeding at 6 and 12 months and breastfeeding exclusivity at 3 and 6 months remain stagnant and low. The CDC's 2010 Breastfeeding Report Card indicates that nearly 72 percent of Delaware infants were breastfed for 3 months, declining to nearly 49 percent at 6 months and 20 percent at 12 months. The rates also decline with exclusive breastfeeding - nearly 32 percent are breastfed at 3 months and 11 percent at 6 months. The report may be found at

The high breastfeeding initiation rate is an indication that most mothers in the U.S. want to breastfeed and are trying to do so. However, they may not be getting the breastfeeding support they need. Low breastfeeding rates at 3, 6, and 12 months illustrate that mothers continue to face multiple barriers to breastfeeding.

Dr. Rattay encourages increased communication to avoid these barriers. "One of the most highly effective preventive measures a mother can take to protect the health of her infant and herself is to breastfeed, however she can't do this alone. She needs the support of family members and community to succeed."

For more information and to register for the event call 1-800-222-2189. Mothers with nursing infants and the general public are encouraged to attend. Breastfeeding information will be provided along with lunch.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.