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Breastfeeding Families Need Support;

FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 31, 2013) – The 2013 World Breastfeeding Week will be celebrated Aug. 1-7 with health officials working to promote the importance of supporting breastfeeding families, the Kentucky Department for Public Health announced today. This message extends to fathers, family members, friends, employers and other key individuals who can play a role in the effort to build a supportive network for breastfeeding mothers.

The 2013 World Breastfeeding Theme, “Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers,” was selected as a way to help more women choose breastfeeding and continue to exclusively breastfeed for the clinically recommended guideline of six months.

“Breastfeeding is an opportunity for mom and baby to bond, connect, and relax,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Stephanie Mayfield. “In addition to physical health benefits, we encourage mothers to breastfeed because of its helpful and healing benefits for families. We need support from relatives, employers and the community to make sure mothers are achieving their breastfeeding goals.”

Breastfeeding is widely regarded as the healthiest choice for infants and the practice is supported by public health professionals, health care providers and advocates around the world. Many women, however, struggle to meet the standards recommended for optimum breastfeeding. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. After that, solid foods are added to the baby’s feeding schedule, but continued breastfeeding is recommended for at least 12 months.

“Even the most committed mothers can struggle to successfully breastfeed when they don’t have the kind of support system they need at home, at the workplace and in the community,” said Fran Hawkins, director of the Kentucky Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC).  “If we want to send the message that breastfeeding is important and improve our breastfeeding rates, we need to support mothers who choose to breastfeed.”

Currently, Kentucky’s breastfeeding rates are 59.4 percent, comparatively lower than other states. DPH is engaged in a number of activities aimed at increasing the state’s breastfeeding rates and improving maternal and child health standards.

Supporting Families

In 2011, Kentucky WIC and the University of Louisville (UofL) Hospital Center for Women and Infants began working together to help more families utilize Kangaroo Care – the practice of using skin-to-skin contact immediately following birth – to promote breastfeeding rates. Kangaroo Care support is provided in birthing hospitals around the state.

In addition, WIC participates in a Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Program operated through the local health departments. A Breastfeeding Peer Counselor is a current or former WIC participant with personal breastfeeding experience. The breastfeeding peer counselor program provides one-on-one counseling, information and round-the-clock guidance for mothers new to breastfeeding.

The United States Department of Agriculture funds the program through a federal grant. It’s available to participants of the WIC Program in agencies with the peer counselor program.

DPH also works to promote breastfeeding through various educational channels, providing support to local health departments, tracking statewide breastfeeding rates, distributing regular breastfeeding educational materials and messaging, and encouraging breastfeeding to mothers enrolled in various public health supported programs and services.

Working With Hospitals

In 2012, DPH reported 100 percent of Kentucky’s birthing hospitals had been trained in “Kangaroo Care” practices.

After receiving a grant from Passport, UofL trained their hospital staff members in Kangaroo Care. As a part of the program, UofL staff developed a “Jumping into Kangaroo Care Toolkit” for use at other facilities. After the success of the initial trainings, the WIC program partnered with UofL to complete a series of statewide trainings for the remaining birthing hospitals in Kentucky.

The trainings also included instruction on how to use the Kangaroo Care toolkit and breastfeeding data collection. Kangaroo Care Champions, nurses who’ve participated in the program at UofL, helped run the trainings and worked individually with hospital staff.

Working With Employers

DPH has participated in programs, such as the Business Case for Breastfeeding, that have assisted businesses with the implementation of breastfeeding-friendly policies.

“Even with support at home, continuing breastfeeding after returning to work is a tremendous challenge,” said Hawkins. “We work to help employers understand that and provide work environments conducive to helping moms continue to breastfeed.”

Four steps are encouraged to make work environments more breastfeeding friendly: support from managers and coworkers; flexible time to express milk (around 10 to 15 minutes three times per day); education for employees about how to combine breastfeeding and work; and a designated space to breastfeed or express milk in privacy.

Public health officials stress that continuing breastfeeding after returning to work is often necessary to meet the recommendations for optimal infant nutrition. Meanwhile, families, health professionals, governments, employers and communities must support breastfeeding mothers for the mother to have a successful breastfeeding experience.

“When breastfeeding mothers have little support, they are more likely to stop breastfeeding before they reach their goals,” said Marlene Goodlett, breastfeeding promotion coordinator for Kentucky public health.

Goodlett stressed the call for support extends to the general public. She said one barrier can be breastfeeding in public

Kentucky law protects women who wish to breastfeed their babies in public. This law permits a mother to breastfeed her baby or express breast milk in any public or private location. This measure also requires that breastfeeding not be considered an act of public indecency or indecent exposure.
“Luckily, attitudes have changed a lot regarding breastfeeding in public, but many are unaware that Kentucky law protects mothers from being asked to feed their babies in private or threatened with public indecency,” said Goodlett. “It’s very important that all mothers are familiar with this law and understand their rights.”

For more information, contact Goodlett at (502) 564-3827 ext. 3612 or  Additional Information on breastfeeding can be found at

Forty-nine Percent of US Population Now Protected by Smoke-free Laws!

The Americans Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation is pleased to announce our most recent quarterly update to the lists and maps of U.S. municipalities and states with smoke-free laws now in effect. Congratulations to all the cities with new strong smoke-free laws in effect, from Anniston, AL to Ketchum, ID!

We also have quite a few milestone anniversaries to celebrate this July.

5 Years:

Loma Linda, CA
Novato, CA
Calumet City, IL
Lemont, IL
Derby, KS
Maize, KS
Mission, KS
Clinton, MS
Fargo, ND
West Fargo, ND
Aiken, SC
Camden, SC
Clemson, SC
North Augusta, SC
Brownsville, TX
Eau Claire, WI
Middleton, WI
Kanawha County, WV

10 years:

Koyuk, AK
Highfill, AR
Nogales, AZ
Santa Cruz County, AZ
Firestone, CO
Honolulu, HI
Skokie, IL
Bloomington, IN
Lexington/Fayette County, KY
Carver, MA
Hancock, MA
Hatfield, MA
Somerville, MA
Wrentham, MA
Montgomery County, MD
New York State
Kanawha County, WV

15 years!

Pasadena, CA
Orleans, MA
Marquette, MI
Corvallis, OR

A total of 575 municipalities now have ordinances in effect for 100% smoke-free non-hospitality workplaces, restaurants, AND bars, along with 24 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington D.C. These strong laws now protect 49.0% of the U.S. population. 

A total of 738 municipalities have a local law in effect that requires both restaurants and bars to be smoke-free, along with 30 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington D.C. These laws protect 64.9% of the U.S. population. 

Smoke-free college campuses, and tobacco-free college campuses, are the new norm. There are now at least 1182 colleges and universities with smoke-free campus-wide policies, and 798 of these are completely tobacco-free. Check out our new and improved colleges list, which now shows which policies are tobacco-free as well as smoke-free.
Smoke-free parks laws, smoke-free outdoor dining AND bar patio laws, smoke-free hospitals, and smoke-free nursing homes all continued skyrocketing – find these updated lists and many, many other lists and maps here:

Public Health Asks for Statewide Input on Health Assessment Survey;

Sent to Lazer by Lawrence Co. Health Dept. director Faith Frazier

FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 9, 2013) – The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is seeking the input of Kentucky residents for the state health improvement plan. Kentuckians can provide their thoughts and insights into improving the health of the Commonwealth by filling out the online survey at: by Aug. 1.

DPH recently drafted the state health assessment to carefully examine the health of the population and identify key problems and assets in Kentucky. The ultimate goal is to provide data to guide decision making for a State Health Improvement Plan.

“The Department for Public Health is asking for your input to decide what priorities to focus on for the Kentucky State Health Improvement Plan,” said DPH Commissioner Stephanie Mayfield, M.D. “Once priorities have been vetted with various stakeholders, goals and objectives will then be drafted and used along with other, previously determined goals set forth by various public health partners. We plan to capitalize on progress already achieved in this area and use additional input to broaden outreach and build a healthier Kentucky.”

Currently, Kentucky ranks 50th in smoking, 40th in obesity, 50th in cancer deaths and very low in status for many other important health indicators. Overall, Kentucky currently ranks 44th among all states in major health status categories, according to the America’s Health Rankings Profile for 2012.

“The main objective of the state health improvement plan is to address these negative health indicators by developing a roadmap to transform Kentucky from a state that consistently reports poor health status to one that supports dynamic initiatives to help Kentuckian’s lead healthier lives,” said Dr. Mayfield. “Now is the time to make a move in the right direction. Too many Kentuckians are dying from issues that can be prevented.  This will take public health, community partners, and the general public to weigh in on the best strategies to move in that direction.”

Public input will help DPH and community partners determine what is best for Kentucky. Individuals without computer access can obtain a paper survey by contacting 502-564-3970.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is home to most of the state's human services and health care programs, including Medicaid, the Department for Community Based Services and the Department for Public Health. CHFS is one of the largest agencies in state government, with nearly 8,000 full and part-time employees throughout the Commonwealth focused on improving the lives and health of Kentuckians.
Beth Crace Fisher
Public Information Officer
Cabinet for Health and Family Services
275 E. Main St.
Frankfort, KY 40621
(502) 564-6786 ext. 3101
Fax: (502) 564-0274

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