In Texas, the World Breastfeeding Month 2009 theme is “Every Ounce Counts,” which coincides with a breastfeeding awareness media campaign.

Every ounce of breastmilk given to a baby improves health of both the mother and baby. After only one feeding, baby begins to be protected against disease. Only one day of feeding can burn up to 500 calories for mom. Only one week of feeding will help baby’s immune system develop. Only one month of feeding reduces mom’s risk of breast cancer. The benefits of breastfeeding increase the more often and the longer breastfeeding continues.

Tracy Erickson, a dietitian and international board-certified lactation consultant with Texas, the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children, said, “All major health organizations agree: Breastfeeding is the healthiest choice for babies. Breastmilk costs nothing, requires no resources to produce and leaves nothing in landfills.

“Texas WIC    is on track to meet the Healthy People 2010 goal for 75 percent of mothers initiating breastfeeding, but we have a way to go to meet the duration goals,” she said. “Helping moms will help us all reach the Healthy People 2010 goals of 50 percent of mothers breastfeeding at six months and 25 percent of mothers breastfeeding at 12 months.”

The Every Ounce Counts message is designed to help moms see the benefit of feeding any of their milk.

“By encouraging moms to give any breast milk they can, we can empower them to breastfeed whenever possible,” said Erickson, who serves as the Texas WIC breastfeeding coordinator. “For some moms, who may be separated from the their babies, being able to breastfeed when they are together helps them feel more connected to their babies.”

Breastfeeding moms and families need support during pregnancy, early infancy and throughout the entire breastfeeding relationship. Friends, family and the community can influence breastfeeding success by treating breastfeeding as the normal, expected way to feed babies.

The local Outreach Health Services office invites every pregnant and breastfeeding mom and their families to join it at a celebration of Texas Breastfeeding Month/Week at 3:15 or 4 p.m. Aug. 4. The office is located at 110 Amanda Lane, Waxahachie. For more information or to RSVP, call 972-937-4777.