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WHEREAS, the health and well-being of all Virginians are of utmost importance to the prosperity and livelihood of the Commonwealth’s families and communities; and
WHEREAS, breastfeeding enriches the bond between a mother and child, and it provides women with health benefits such as reduced risk of ovarian, uterine, and breast cancer, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure; and
WHEREAS, exclusive breastfeeding of infants for the first six months after birth with continued breastfeeding for at least twelve months ensures that both mothers and infants receive maximum health benefits; and
WHEREAS, breast milk is physiologically tailored to meet the needs of infants’ maturing digestive systems, which ensures proper growth and development, and helps prevent a variety of acute and chronic diseases; and
WHEREAS, breastfeeding is associated with decreased childhood maltreatment; and
WHEREAS, comprehensive lactation support programs increase employee retention rates, decrease absenteeism, decrease health care costs, improve employee productivity, and support family-friendly communities; and
WHEREAS, all Virginia employers are encouraged to accommodate the needs of breastfeeding employees and their children; and
WHEREAS, the United States Breastfeeding Committee has declared August National Breastfeeding Month, and the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action has declared August 1-7, 2018, as World Breastfeeding Week to promote breastfeeding as a proven primary prevention strategy; and
WHEREAS, as of July 1, 2015, pursuant to Va. Code § 32.1-370, a mother may breastfeed in any place where the mother is lawfully present including any location where she would otherwise be allowed on property that is owned, leased, or controlled by the Commonwealth in accordance with § 2.2-1147.1; and
WHEREAS, the way ahead starts with access to quality health care and health promotion, and keeping breastfeeding high on the public health agenda is critical in improving the health and well-being of our citizens;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize August 2018 as BREASTFEEDING AWARENESS MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.