World Breastfeeding Week is August 1-7 and the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center is celebrating with the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) theme “Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life.” Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has also declared August 2018 as Breastfeeding Promotion Month in Illinois.“We want Lake County mothers to know that breastfeeding is a healthy choice for you and your baby,” said Mark Pfister, Health Department Executive Director. “Breastfeeding support services are important to help promote good nutrition and food security for infants.”With no additional burden on the household income, breastfeeding is a low cost way of feeding babies and contributing to lifelong health. You can find more information at www.worldbreastfeedingweek.org. The Lake County Health Department’s WIC program has four Breastfeeding Peer Counselors available at five locations throughout the county, including Waukegan, North Chicago, Zion, Round Lake Beach, and Highland Park.On Tuesday, August 7 at noon, the Health Department will host a live interview with its Breastfeeding Peer Counselors on its Facebook page (www.facebook.com/HealthDepartment). Additionally, the Health Department has invited WIC moms who have breastfed or are currently breastfeeding to submit a photo of themselves with their infant or child. The photos will be on display at each Lake County WIC location to celebrate breastfeeding month.WIC mothers are strongly encouraged to breastfeed their infants unless there is a medical reason not to. Health experts recommend exclusive breastfeeding (nothing but breast milk) for six months and continued breastfeeding after a baby begins solid food up to age one or two. Human milk is full of antibodies that help protect babies from many diseases, including ear infections, respiratory infections, diarrhea, allergies, leukemia and diabetes.Breastfeeding can even help mothers reduce their risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes and heart disease.In June of 2018, 82.3 percent of pregnant women enrolled in the Health Department’s WIC program initiated breastfeeding and 20.3 percent were exclusively breastfeeding at 3 months. As part of The Healthy People 2020 Breastfeeding Goals for the Nation, Illinois continues to work with community partners to increase breastfeeding at 3 months to 46.2% and to increase the number of babies born at hospitals that provide recommended care for breastfeeding moms and their babies. The establishment of the Human Donor Milk Bank and local depots across the state ensures all infants have access to breast milk.To make an appointment with WIC, or for more support and information about breastfeeding, call (847) 377-8420.