Picnic in the Park to Encourage and Celebrate Breastfeeding
Saturday’s Event to be Held at Breslin Park Coincides with National Breastfeeding Month
The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and community partners will host Picnic in the Park on Saturday, August 10 from 11a.m. to 1 p.m. at Breslin Park, 1400 Payne St. The event, commemorating National Breastfeeding Month, celebrates breastfeeding as the best source of nutrition for infants and encourages moms to breastfeed their babies.
Picnic in the Park will feature information tables from area hospitals and other agencies, face painting, inflatables, crafts, story time and other fun kid’s activities. There will also be food and giveaways. The event is free and people are encouraged to also bring a picnic lunch.
Other Picnic in the Park sponsors include Baptist Health Hospital, University of Louisville Hospital, Norton Hospital, Healthy Babies Louisville, Louisville Healthy Start, Play Cousins and Mama to Mama.
“We encourage everyone to come out to Picnic in the Park,” said public health director and the city’s chief health strategist, Dr. Sarah Moyer. “As the mother of an infant daughter and three growing boys, I know just how important breastfeeding is for the health of the infant and the mom,” she said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for about the first six months with continued breastfeeding along with introducing appropriate complementary foods for one year or longer. Breastfeeding is good for both infants and mothers. Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants. As an infant grows, breast milk changes to meet the infant’s nutritional needs. Breastfeeding can also help protect infant and mother against some short and long-term illnesses and diseases.
Infants who are breastfed have a lower risk of ear infections, asthma, diabetes, diarrhea, skin infection, respiratory infection, obesity and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SDS). Breastfeeding also benefits mom. Mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancers, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Among infants born in 2015 in the United States, 4 out of 5 (83.2%) started to breastfeed, over half (57.6%) were breastfeeding at six months, and over one-third (35.9%) were breastfeeding at 12 months. Kentucky lags behind national rates. While 73.9% of Kentucky moms began breastfeeding, only 21.1% continued for six months.
Both the national and state rates indicate that while most moms begin breastfeeding, they cannot continue for the recommended length of time. This may suggest that mothers may not be getting the support they need from employers, family members and health care providers to meet their breastfeeding goals. The Kentucky Pregnant Workers Act, which went into effect in June, now requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers and for those who have just given birth. Among others, these accommodations include a safe, private space at work for a new mom to pump breastmilk.