Welcome to Skagit County

Global Menu

Welcome to Skagit County

Skagit County Logo

August 4, 2022

August Proclaimed Breastfeeding Month in Skagit County

On Tuesday, July 26, Skagit County Commissioners signed a proclamation officially designating August as Breastfeeding Month in Skagit County. 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.

Breastfeeding has many known health benefits for infants, children, and birthing parents and is a key strategy to improve public health. According to the National Association of County and City Health Officials and United States Breastfeeding Committee, human milk is the ideal first food uniquely suited for infants’ optimal growth and development. Breastfeeding has a substantial impact on the birthing persons’ health, which makes lactation support critical for improving community health. From greater immunity to infection, reduction of incidence of infant mortality and SIDS, and greater bonding and attachment between baby and parent, there are 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 WHO recommends continuing breastfeeding for at least two years and the AAP further supports continued breastfeeding, along with appropriate complementary foods introduced at about 6 months, as long as mutually desired by mother and child for 2 years or beyond.

According to the CDC, most infants born in Washington State in 2019 started out life breastfeeding (93.7%). However, by 6 months of age, this number dropped to 68%, with only 30% exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months. By the one-year mark, less than half of infants were still breastfeeding, dropping sharply to 47.4%. These drops are more pronounced in low-income populations.

“This data shows that parents and caregivers in Washington State want to breastfeed, but many may not have the support they need to continue feeding their infants human milk for as long as they would like to,” said Jennifer Sass-Walton, Skagit County Public Health Child and Family Health Manager. “The Coalition is working to promote better early access to lactation support, lactation-friendly workplaces, and family leave policies.”

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 equitable community supports and policies must be in place to ensure prolonged success.
Are you pregnant, preparing for a baby, or looking for support on your infant feeding journey? For a list of local resources, including classes, support groups, clinics, and lactation consultants, visit 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.