October 1, 2009
Media Release

Breastfeeding protects!

Celebrate breastfeeding during National Breastfeeding Week, October 1st to 7th
NEWMARKET …quot; Canada celebrates World Breastfeeding Week, October 1st to 7th with a 2009 theme that focuses on the vital protection breastfeeding provides for infants and children, especially during periods of crisis or emergency.  Breastfeeding provides unparalleled nutrition to children, and is the only food or drink that a child needs for the first six months of life.
The Regional Municipality of York Community and Health Services department, Health Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Society recommend exclusive breastfeeding in conjunction with the age-appropriate solid foods for two years and beyond.
In addition to enhancing the emotional bond between a mother and a child, breastfeeding also provides many health-related benefits.  Women who breastfeed have decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancer, osteoporosis and post partum bleeding.  They may also experience more post-partum weight loss then women who formula feed.
Research also indicates that breastfed children have:
• Decreased risk and severity of illness related to seasonal flu; this is especially true for children less than six months of age who are not eligible for the flu shot
• Fewer respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses when compared to formula fed children
• Decreased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), asthma, allergies, type-2 diabetes, certain childhood cancers, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and obesity
• Enhanced cognitive development, resulting in improved school performance and higher IQ scores
Breastfeeding is environmentally friendly.  It does not create any waste and does not utilize valuable natural resources such as water or energy.  It is also a convenient and safe way to provide the necessary nourishment to a child when access to clean water and supplies may not be available (natural disaster).  
While breastfeeding is the natural way to feed children, establishing breastfeeding may require assistance and support.  York Region Community and Health Services offers free support and instruction to breastfeeding mothers, including prenatal classes, telephone consultation, home visits and direct one-on-one breastfeeding consultation in a clinic setting.  Breastfeeding clinics are located in the Town of Newmarket, Town of Richmond Hill, Town of Markham and the City of Vaughan. 
In 2008, public health nurses serviced families during almost 2,000 breastfeeding clinic appointments and provided almost 5,000 breastfeeding telephone consultations.
For more information on this or any other public health program, please contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, York Region Health Services
 Phone:  (905) 830-4444, ext. 4016 or After-hours Cell:  905 716-9753
 Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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