WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — On Tuesday, Aug. 2, Governor Laura Kelly proclaimed August as “Kansas Breastfeeding Month.”

Pictured: David Thomason, Ashley Goss, Brenda Bandy, Senator Dinah Sykes, Melissa Rooker, Logan Stenseng, Governor Laura Kelly, Earlisha Killen, Sapphire Garcia-Lies, Jennie Toland, Mandy Chapin, Stephanne Rupnicki, and Senator Kristen O’Shea (Courtesy: Kansas Department of Health and Education)

The proclamation recognizes the importance of breastfeeding for the health and well-being of Kansans.

“We are extremely pleased with Governor Kelly’s proclamation, which highlights the importance of breastfeeding support for families in Kansas,” said Brenda Bandy, IBCLC, Co-Executive Director of the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition (KBC). “This proclamation supports their decision and provides a foundation to build a landscape of breastfeeding support in our state.”

“Kansas recognizes breastfeeding as a public health responsibility and priority,” said Joan Duwve, MD, State Medical Director. “Strides in improved breastfeeding rates have been possible through strong statewide partnerships and community collaboration. We will continue to promote and support breastfeeding to protect and improve the health of parents and infants.”

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), nearly 90% of Kansas families choose to breastfeed. Yet, less than one in three infants are exclusively breastfed through the critical six months of life. The KDHE says the lack of support and barriers in the workplace can often be obstacles for parents who choose to breastfeed.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) newly updated guidance on breastfeeding called for policy changes to address obstacles for parents who choose to breastfeed, including universal paid maternity leave and insurance coverage for lactation support. Establishing better breastfeeding support will improve both baby and mother’s future health and reduce reliance on infant formula, according to the KDHE.

“Today’s proclamation stresses the role of every Kansan to make breastfeeding easier in Kansas,” the KDHE states.

The KBC State of Breastfeeding in Kansas 2022 report has action items and resources for individuals, employers, child care providers, healthcare professionals, and others to support breastfeeding.