UCSF Celebrates World Breastfeeding Week

July 30, 2003
News Office: Eve Harris (415) 885-7277

The Women's Health Resource Center at UCSF Medical Center is a sponsor of the 2003 Guinness Book of World Records Breastfeeding Event, taking place Saturday, Aug. 9 at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in Berkeley. As part of World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1 to 7, this event aims to raise awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding. Organized by the Alameda County Breastfeeding Task Force, the event invites women and their families to help defend its current record of 1,130 women breastfeeding simultaneously, which was set last year.

"UCSF Women's Health Resource Center is proud to be involved with the second annual Guinness Breastfeeding event, for it is a wonderful way to raise awareness about the importance of breastfeeding," said Octavia Owens and Holly Coates-Bash, lactation consultants with the UCSF Outpatient Lactation Program.

UCSF Women's Health Resource Center promotes breastfeeding in coordination with the Office on Women's Health as part of the National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign. These efforts are targeted to first-time parents to help improve the lower-than-desired rate of breastfeeding in the United States.

The most recent study on national breastfeeding rates, published in Pediatrics in 2000, suggests that despite widespread knowledge about the many benefits of breastfeeding, the rate of initial breastfeeding after birth is 69 percent, with only 33 percent of women continuing to breastfeed for at least six months. The overall goal of the National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign is to increase the proportion of mothers who exclusively breastfeed their babies in the early postpartum period to 75 percent and those who breastfeed for at least six months to 50 percent by 2010.

Breastfeeding Activities at UCSF

In an attempt to encourage more new mothers to breastfeed their babies, UCSF Women's Health Resource Center has developed numerous programs to teach women and their partners about breastfeeding while they are pregnant and to assist them once their baby is born.

  • Prenatal Breastfeeding Education -- Informational seminars and classes introduce parents to the benefits of breastfeeding, go over the mechanics of milk production and offer tips and techniques for breastfeeding successfully.

  • Inpatient Lactation Service -- After the baby is born, this service provides assistance and support for new mothers during their hospital stay.

  • Outpatient Lactation Program -- Once mother and baby return home, this program offers support and education through extensive consultations as well as a free telephone advice service.

Breastfeeding -- Best for Mom, Best for Baby

Breastfeeding has many benefits for both infants and mothers. For example, breastfeeding has been proven to support optimal infant growth and development. In addition, breastfeeding reduces a woman's risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer as well as osteoporosis.

More Information About the Event

The 2003 Guinness Book of World Records Breastfeeding Event is Saturday, Aug. 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in Berkeley. The event is free and open to the public. All breastfeeding mothers and their family and friends are encouraged to help defend the Guinness World Record title.

UCSF Women's Health Resource Center is a silver sponsor and will have a booth complete with information about breastfeeding classes and other resources. In addition, there will be breast pumps and other lactation supplies for sale.

For more information about the event, please call Ellen Sirbu of the Alameda County Breastfeeding Task Force at (510) 981-5131.