In honor of World Breastfeeding Month 2023 this August, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, (DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is celebrating mothers, babies and breastfeeding with community events throughout the state.
The month-long schedule of events kicked off on August 1st with a World Breastfeeding Week Celebration and walk on the New Hampshire State House lawn in Concord. Families, community partners such as Community Action Program Belknap-Merrimack Counties, Inc., Dartmouth Health, NH Breastfeeding Task Force and UNH Cooperative Extension, along with the US Department of Agriculture, US Department of Labor and the DHHS Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program participated in the kickoff event, which featured community resources for mothers and families to reach their breastfeeding goals.
This year’s World Breastfeeding Month theme is Enabling Breastfeeding – Making a difference for working parents, and how breastfeeding-friendly employers, programs and communities are key in building healthy families where people want to live, work, play and stay. Following the kickoff event, Somersworth, Wolfeboro, Portsmouth and Keene hosted events, making the celebration of World Breastfeeding Week 2023 a statewide event.
“Those first few weeks after delivery can be some of the hardest for new mothers, but they can also be the most rewarding when surrounded by supportive people and programs,” said DPHS Director Patricia Tilley. “It was wonderful to see so many families and community partners attend the Annual World Breastfeeding Month Celebration in Concord. Breastfeeding is one of the many ways you can feed and nourish your baby. What’s most important is that there is a network of support for caregivers and their infants get the care and nutrition they need to grow and thrive.”
Breastfeeding mothers often share that it is a challenge to return to work while continuing to breastfeed their babies. Recent federal and state legislation relative to policies relating to nursing mothers will help reduce some of those barriers. Support from employers allowing a working mother to pump at work is critical to helping a nursing mother achieve her breastfeeding goals. In addition to a supportive workplace, family, friends, and healthcare providers play a huge role in a family’s success at breastfeeding.
“Collaborating with community partners throughout the state to reinforce the important message of supporting breastfeeding families, especially when returning to work, is a critical part of the work we do to raise healthy, thriving children,” said Lissa Sirois, NH WIC director.
Breastfeeding in places of public accommodation, such as schools, restaurants, parks, stores, and other places serving the public, is protected by NH state law. To learn more about NH’s breastfeeding laws and the many resources available to support families, visit https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/programs-services/childcare-parenting-childbirth/breastfeeding-promotion-support
To learn more about the NH WIC Program and its breastfeeding support services, visit https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/programs-services/population-health/women-infants-children-nutrition-program