TRUMBULL — August is National Breastfeeding Month, with this year’s theme being, “Many Voices United.” The Connecticut Department of Public Health, Trumbull Health Department, and local partners are working together to create breast-feeding friendly worksites throughout the state.

All major health authorities, including the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, agree that breast milk is the best source of nutrition for infants and recommend that infants be exclusively breastfed (receiving no other food or drink) for the first six months of life. Further, breastfeeding should continue along with appropriate complementary foods until the child is one-to-two years-old or longer.

“The decision to breastfeed is a personal one,” said Trumbull Health Director Luci Bango. “Expecting mothers who choose to breastfeed should feel comfortable knowing they have the resources and support of their employers and their community.”

Breastfeeding provides numerous and well documented health benefits, including infant protection from a variety of diseases and conditions such as diarrhea, ear infections, urinary tract infection, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, lymphoma, leukemia, and Hodgkin’s disease and childhood overweight and obesity.

Mothers also experience improved health outcomes, including protection against the development of type 2 diabetes, lowered risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers, and reduced risk of early menopause, which has been associated with cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death.

Though benefits of breastfeeding are clear, the ability to meet national breastfeeding recommendations is largely dependent upon the support systems within a family’s community. In Connecticut, over 86 percent of infants are breastfed at birth but that number drops to only 59.6 percent at six months of age.

“Breastfeeding families need more support,” Bango said.

The CT Breastfeeding Coalition, DPH, and their partners launched The Breastfeeding: It’s Worth It! campaign to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration rates and to reduce the barriers in the environment, including institutions that cause women to stop breastfeeding before they are ready. The campaign centers on several key themes, including the importance of planning ahead, evidence-based maternity care practices, support from the community including childcare providers, and returning to work.

Learn more about the campaign at https://www.facebook.com/breastfeedingct/. Visit  https://www.breastfeedingct.org/index.html to find out about specific virtual meeting times or contact Monica Belyea , mbelyea@breastfeedingct.org. Employers and childcare providers can learn more about becoming “breastfeeding-friendly” at https://www.breastfeedingct.org/.