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FOR RELEASE: May 5 , 2006
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Media Advisory
Ceremony Recognizes Legislators Who Support Breastfeeding Moms

What: The Coalition of Oklahoma Breastfeeding Advocates (COBA) will host a recognition ceremony for legislators who authored bills over the last two years that supported breastfeeding mothers.

When: Tuesday, May 9, 2006
12:15 p.m. Awards Ceremony

Where: State Capitol, Governor’s 2nd Floor Conference Room

Featuring: Esther Phillips, Deputy Regional Administrator
United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service

Terry L. Cline, PhD, Oklahoma Cabinet Secretary for Health (invited)

Dr. Kevin Moore, Breastfeeding Committee Representative
Oklahoma Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

Linda Miller, COBA chairperson

Background: COBA will recognize the authors and co-authors of House Bill 2102, House Bill 2358, and House Concurrent Resolution 1015. The primary authors being recognized include: Rep. John Carey, Rep. Dale DePue, Sen. Susan Paddack, Sen. Nancy Riley, and Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre. This year’s legislation encourages businesses to support mothers who use their work breaks and lunchtime to pump breastmilk to feed their babies.

Although breastfeeding improves the health of both mothers and babies, less than 70 percent of Oklahoma’s new mothers initiate breastfeeding. A study by the Oklahoma State Department of Health found that only about 10 percent of Oklahoma infants were fed breast milk exclusively. The recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization are for all mothers to exclusively breastfeed during the first six months of life and continue breastfeeding with addition of complementary foods for 12 months or longer. The survey further revealed that most new mothers initiate breastfeeding, however, more than half discontinue by two months.

Breastfeeding provides biological and emotional bonding for mother and child. Mother’s milk has anti-infective properties that help protect infants against disease. Breastfeeding mothers have less risk of breast and ovarian cancer and diabetes. Long-term benefits to Oklahoma include healthier children and mothers.

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