One of the most effective actions a mother can take to protect the lifelong health of her baby and herself is to breastfeed. The longer and more exclusively a mother breastfeeds her baby, the greater the health benefits they both receive. Health organizations worldwide recommend that mother’s breastfeed their babies exclusively for six months, and then continue breastfeeding for one year and beyond, even as solid foods are introduced.
Most mothers in Oregon plan to provide breast milk for their babies, as shown by an initiation rate of over 90%! However, breastfeeding is often decreased or discontinued altogether in the weeks following birth, for a variety of reasons. These barriers must be resolved so mothers can meet these recommendations and achieve their personal breastfeeding goals.
The Oregon Public Health Division is working with community and public partners to protect, promote and support breastfeeding at every level – home, work environment, health care system, and public settings. Families, employers, health care providers, hospitals, and communities all play a role in reducing barriers and ensuring that mothers get the support they deserve.