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Florida Health Promotes Breastfeeding During World Breastfeeding Month

By Kevin Kirkwood

August 23, 2016

Contact: Kevin Kirkwood


Lee County, Fla.—The Florida Department of Health in Lee County is highlighting the importance of breastfeeding during National Breastfeeding Month. Breastfeeding plays a critical role in healthy development from the very beginning of a child’s life.

“It is exciting to see our community coming together and supporting breastfeeding as the normal and best way to protect those who depend on us the most” said Lori Riddle, RD, LD/N, CLC, Breastfeeding Coordinator for the Lee/Hendry/Glades County Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.

Earlier this year, the department launched the Florida Healthy Babies initiative and has invested nearly two million dollars in helping hospitals around the state promote “Baby Steps to Baby Friendly” in order to support mothers in practicing exclusive breastfeeding for their infants. Breast milk contains antibodies that help protect infants from common childhood illnesses.

With support from the department, Lee Memorial Health System birthing facilities received $10,000 mini-grants to obtain training and technical assistance to implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding Program to support mothers in practicing exclusive breastfeeding with their infants. The Department of Health in Lee County is working with community partners toward developing a local breastfeeding coalition. In addition, the local WIC agency has begun working with daycare centers in applying for the Florida Breastfeeding Coalition’s Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care award. These collaborative efforts will further enhance the normalcy of breastfeeding as the first source of nutrition in an infant’s life.

To reach the goal of exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months, mothers need supportive maternity leave policies, flexible work hours, infant and child-care at or near the workplace, and private facilities for expressing and storing breastmilk. It takes time and practice to learn how to breastfeed, both for mother and baby, and to establish a good milk supply.

For more information about the Florida WIC program call 1-800-342-3556 or visit To learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding visit; or

For more information about Baby Steps to Baby Friendly visit the Florida Healthiest Weight website.  

For resources on breastfeeding and print outs for working moms, visit our activity page here.

About Healthiest Weight Florida

Healthiest Weight Florida is a public-private collaboration bringing together state agencies, nonprofit organizations, businesses and entire communities to help Florida's children and adults make consistent, informed choices about healthy eating and active living. To learn more about how to be active and make nutritious food choices visit

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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