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Breastfeeding Awareness 

Every woman’s journey to motherhood is different, but one of the first decisions a new mom makes is how to feed her child. When you choose to breastfeed, you make an investment in your baby’s future. Breastfeeding allows you to make the food that is perfect for your baby. Your milk gives your baby the healthy start that will last a lifetime.

There are many benefits to breastfeeding:

  • Mothers that breastfeed their children have a better weight status than moms that use artificial baby milk. They also have a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, breast and ovarian cancer and postpartum depression.
  • Children that are breastfed typically score higher on IQ tests and are sick less often. They also have a lower risk for developing respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, asthma, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
  • Mothers of breastfed babies enjoy a special bond through the skin-to-skin contact that breastfeeding involves.
  • A breastfeeding family can save approximately $1,500 per year on formula costs.

August - Breastfeeding Awareness Month - Illustration of a mother holding an infant

August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Based on 2013 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 71.8% of women in Florida have ever tried breastfeeding compared to the national average of 76.5%. The Department of Health offers a variety of programs, materials and resources to encourage breastfeeding friendly environments throughout the sunshine state.

  • The Florida WIC Program offers counseling and breastfeeding materials to pregnant and breastfeeding clients. WIC also participates in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) breastfeeding peer counseling program.
  • Florida’s Healthy Start Program promotes healthy behaviors and provides services to pregnant women, women in between pregnancies, infants and children to obtain the support needed to reduce the risks for poor health outcomes.
  • The Florida Child Care Food Program (CCFP) awards recognitions to breastfeeding friendly facilities and provides education to child care providers through workshops, online modules, and educational materials.
  • The Florida Chronic Disease Prevention Program supports the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a recognition established by Baby–Friendly USA promoting human milk as the best source of nourishment for new babies. Evidence shows several specific practices in birth facilities can significantly affect breastfeeding initiation, duration and exclusivity.

Everyone Can Play a Role in Promoting a Breastfeeding Friendly Florida

Mothers and Families

Breastfeeding is a normal part of mothers and babies being together. Breastfeeding isn’t just about the milk though. Breastfeeding helps to build a bond that can last a lifetime.

Pediatricians recommend that babies be fed only breast milk for the first 6 months of life. Solid foods should be fed at about 6 months, and breastfeeding should continue until the baby is at least 1 year of age or older.


Support for breastfeeding in the workplace includes several types of employee benefits and services including writing corporate policies to support breastfeeding women; teaching employees about breastfeeding; providing designated private space for breastfeeding or expressing milk; allowing flexible scheduling to support milk expression during work; giving mothers options for returning to work, such as teleworking, part-time work, and extended maternity leave; providing onsite or near-site child care; providing high-quality breast pumps and refrigerated storage; and offering or referring professional lactation management services and support.


With nearly 11 million American children in some form of child care each year, the role of the child care setting and provider is significant. Child care providers have a unique opportunity to normalize, promote, and encourage breastfeeding. Breastfeeding and returning to work or school can be overwhelming. Even mothers who successfully initiated breastfeeding tend to stop around the time they return to work or school and enroll their baby in child care.

The Florida Child Care Food Program (CCFP) recognizes participating facilities that are breastfeeding friendly. Facilities that meet CCFP’s six standards and have a baby-friendly policy in place are eligible for recognition. The CCFP and the Florida Breastfeeding Coalition (FBC) have collaborated to offer a similar recognition to facilities that do not participate in the CCFP. In recognition of Breastfeeding Awareness Month, the CCFP and FBC developed an online training module, Creating a Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Facility.

Hospitals and Health Care Professionals

Hospitals play a critical role in helping mothers who choose to breastfeed. Florida hospitals can support breastfeeding initiation and duration by following the evidence-based practices in the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, endorsed and promoted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and others.

Health care professionals, especially those serving pregnant women, children and new moms, also play a significant role in supporting breastfeeding families. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Practice Physicians, and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), have policy statements and clinical guidelines for providers to best support mothers and babies.

*Note: This page contains materials in the Portable Document Format (PDF). The free Adobe Reader may be required to view these files.

Healthiest Weight Florida is a public-private collaboration bringing together state agencies, not for profit organizations, businesses, and entire communities to help Florida's children and adults make choices about healthy eating and active living.