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By Dana Grissom, PIO

August 03, 2021

Milton, FL.— The Florida Department of Health (DOH) in Santa Rosa County and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) are celebrating World Breastfeeding Week 2021 during August 1-7, 2021.

This year’s theme is Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility.

“We are proud and honored to celebrate the mothers and infants in our community this World Breastfeeding Week” said Elisabeth Jordan, WIC Breastfeeding Program Coordinator with DOH Santa Rosa. “Breastfeeding can present unforeseen challenges to new mothers and families, particularly during a global pandemic. As we know, this has been quite a year for all of us, and I truly believe that breastfeeding mothers are unsung heroes.”

The World Breastfeeding Week 2021 theme encourages everyone to support breastfeeding mothers, babies and their families through creating a breastfeeding-friendly environment. Protecting breastfeeding ensures:

  • Goodhealth and prevents malnutrition. including under and over nutrition. Breastfeeding has positive lifelong health effects on infants, children, and mothers such as lower incidence of respiratory infections and ear infections for infants and children and reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer for mothers.  Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of childhood overweight and obesity compared to formula feeding.  
  • Food security even in times of crisis. Breastfeeding provides food security to infants from the very beginning of life, contributes to food security for the whole family, and ensures food security for babies even in times of household or widespread disasters, such as hurricanes. 
  • Improved Economics and Reduced Inequalities. Breastfeeding can help break the cycle of poverty for families, which impacts hunger and malnutrition. Breastfeeding provides an equal start for everyone.   With no additional burden on household income, breastfeeding is a low-cost way of feeding babies and contributes to poverty reduction.  Breastfeeding can also reduce costs to the health care system and employers by decreasing costs of hospitalizations, medications, and reduced absenteeism.
  • A positive impact on the health of the planet in several ways:
    • Breastmilk is a sustainable and environmentally friendly resource.
    • Breastfeeding is readily available without needing other supplies.
    • Breastmilk production does not require the use of energy for manufacturing and does not create waste or air pollution.

To Protect Breastfeeding

  • Promote the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.
  • Provide access to skilled breastfeeding counseling.  Studies have shown that breastfeeding promotion interventions increases exclusive and any breastfeeding rates at 4-6 weeks and at 6 months.
  • Encourage employers and communities to promote and protect breastfeeding, through posting signs “Breastfeeding Welcome Here” and providing private areas for breastfeeding if that is a breastfeeding family’s preference.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for infants for the first year of life and beyond, with the addition of appropriate complimentary foods when the infant is developmentally ready, around 6 months of age.

For more information about the Florida WIC program, call 1-800-342-3556 or visit  To learn more about breastfeeding initiatives in Florida, visit

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.