Media Release

Florida Department of Health in Alachua County Recognizes Breastfeeding Awareness Month

Monday, August 3, 2015 12:30 PM

Florida Department of Health - Alachua CountyThis press release put out at the request of the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County.

TALLAHASSEE, FL — The Florida Department of Health in Alachua County (FDOH-Alachua) is celebrating National Breastfeeding Awareness Month this August. Expanding on the Baby Steps to Baby Friendly Initiative, which seeks to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration, FDOH-Alachua is working to promote breastfeeding as a vital health activity and encourage breastfeeding-friendly hospitals.  In addition, staff is promoting similar programs in child care facilities and across the community.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mothers who breastfeed their children are at a healthier weight on average than those who do not. They also have a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and breast and ovarian cancer. Children who are breastfed have a lower risk for developing respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, asthma, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

Paul Myers, Administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County, stated, “Breastfeeding is a key strategy in achieving the Department’s number one priority; helping all citizens achieve their healthiest weight. 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 for both mother and baby to learn how to breastfeed, and to establish a good milk supply.”

Julie Samples, Assistant Chief Nursing Officer at North Florida Regional Medical Center, stated, “We clearly want to work with community partners, such as the Health Department and the Healthy Start Coalition, to advance breastfeeding and to support other community efforts.”  In 2014, North Florida Regional Medical Center created “Women and Wellness”, an online community dedicated to women’s health.  During August “Women and Wellness” is turning the spotlight on breastfeeding. The website will be updated with articles from breastfeeding moms, lactation consultants, providers and other experts. Please visit during August to learn more and to become a member.

For the month of August, all Alachua County breastfeeding mothers eligible to participate in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) supplemental nutrition program will receive breastfeeding certificates acknowledging their breastfeeding success.  The WIC special educational theme of the month will be support for breastfeeding mothers, highlighting the U.S. Department of Labor Nursing Mother’s Law which requires employers to give breastfeeding mothers reasonable time and a place to pump in the workplace.

Two notable community events include:

Shands Hospital New Baby-Friendly Hospital Designation Celebration
Wednesday, August 5, 2015 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
Atrium at UF Health Shands Hospital
1600 S.W. Archer Rd.
Community breastfeeding event celebrating Shands Hospital's new baby-friendly hospital designation!  Learn about breastfeeding and the support available in our community.  Cake & punch will be served.

Alachua County Healthy Communities Meeting   
Saturday, September 5, 2015 - 10 a.m. to noon
Main Conference Room 
224 S.E. 24th St. Gainesville, FL 32641 
Baby Steps to Baby Friendly presented by Susie Tanner IBCLC, MPH - WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator

For more information call 352-334-7900.

To help new mothers find breastfeeding support, visit the newly revised North Central Florida Breastfeeding Support Resource List on the Alachua County Department of Health website.

For more information, visit the Florida Breastfeeding Coalition's Quality Maternity Care Initiative.

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

FDOH-Alachua works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook.

For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit



  • Mark Sexton
  • Communications & Legislative Affairs Director
  • Phone: 352-374-5204
  • Cell: 352-283-2317

If you have a disability and need an accommodation in order to participate in a County program, service or public meeting, please contact the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office at 352-374-5275 at least 2 business days prior to the event. TTY users please call 711 (Florida Relay Service).