• August Proclaimed Breastfeeding Month in Skagit County

    August 14, 2021

    On Tuesday, August 10, Skagit County Commissioners signed a proclamation officially recognizing August as Breastfeeding Month. The Skagit County Breastfeeding Coalition delivered a presentation during Tuesday’s proclamation hearing, highlighting the health benefits of breastfeeding for both baby and parent, while also calling attention to barriers that exist in our community that may impede a parent’s breastfeeding journey.

    The benefits of breastfeeding are widely known at this point. From greater immunity to infection, reduction of incidence of infant mortality and SIDS, and greater bonding and attachment between baby and parent; there are so many incredible reasons for a caregiver to provide their infant with human milk.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) both recommend exclusive human milk feeding for the first 6 months of life. The AAP recommends continuing human milk feeding until at least the baby’s first birthday, while introducing complementary foods. The WHO recommends continuing breastfeeding for at least two years.

    According to the CDC, most infants born in Washington State in 2017 started out life breastfeeding (92.5%). However, by 6 months of age, this number dropped to 74.6 percent. By the one-year mark, less than half of infants were still breastfeeding, dropping sharply to 49.6% percent.

    “This data shows that parents and caregivers in Washington State want to breastfeed, but many may not have adequate support to continue their breastfeeding journey for as long as they would like to,” said Jennifer Sass-Walton, Skagit County Public Health Child and Family Health Manager. “One of the Coalition’s primary goals is to increase the number of babies still consuming human milk at 6 and 12 months of age.”

    Individualized support in the first few hours and days is critical to help parents meet their breastfeeding goals. But support cannot end here. In order for parents to navigate the potential challenges of breastfeeding and child nutrition, a network of community supports and policies must be in place to ensure prolonged success.

    Said Lisa Janicki, Skagit County Commissioner: “Declaring August as Breastfeeding Month here in Skagit County is a great first step, but there is still so much we can do as a community to support parents. Access to care is of course important but all parents in Skagit County need also need broad, full community support in order to ensure that every baby has the best chance at a healthy and happy life.”

    Are you pregnant, preparing for a baby, or a new parent? For a list of local resources, including classes, support groups, clinics, and home visiting programs, go to: https://skagitbreastfeeding.org/resources/.

    For more information about the Skagit County Breastfeeding Coalition, visit: https://skagitbreastfeeding.org/ or call Skagit County Public Health at (360) 416-1500.

    County Commissioners: Lisa Janicki, Peter Browning, Ron Wesen
    1800 Continental Place, Suite 100
    Mount Vernon, WA 98273