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For Immediate Release:
March 12, 2004
For more information contact:
Maria Iacobo
213/240-8144 or 213/990-7107/pager

NEWS ADVISORY: Health Department Opens Lactation Room for Employees

WHAT: The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services will open a new lactation room for employees -- an important program to support employees who return to work and want to continue breastfeeding their babies. The Breastfeeding Task Force of Greater Los Angeles will also present the Family Health Promotion Award to Dr. Jonathan Fielding, Director of Public Health for the county's health department, to recognize his commitment to support and promote breastfeeding in the workplace. Many of the county's facilities provide lactation rooms where breastfeeding mothers can express milk throughout the day with access to hand washing facilities and refrigerators to store their breast milk. Programs such as this have a positive impact in extending breastfeeding duration.

In January 2002, the State of California passed a law (AB 1025) requiring employers to provide unpaid break time and a private space to express breast milk during the workday. The health department will also release a report on breastfeeding in Los Angeles County during the opening ceremony.

WHY: American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life and be breastfed for 12 months or longer with the addition of appropriate foods. Breastfed infants have enhanced immune response and reduced risk for chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease. Breastfeeding may also have a protective effect against childhood obesity. Furthermore, breastfeeding improves maternal health, minimizes postpartum bleeding, reduces the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer, and facilitates bonding between mother and infant. WHEN: Monday, March 15 at 12:00pm – 2:00pm WHERE: 600 South Commonwealth Ave., Suite 800 Conference Rooms A & B Los Angeles, CA 90005