The World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) emphasize the value of breastfeeding for mothers as well as children. Both recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life when possible and then supplemented breastfeeding for at least one year and up to two years or more.
At the Lincoln County Health Department, breastfeeding education is handled as a part of the WIC program. WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children. It is a supplemental program that provides nutritious foods to eligible pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants and children who are at nutritional risk. WIC offers Nutrition Education, Referrals for Health Care, and Breastfeeding Promotion and Support. WIC participants receive education on how to implement nutrition into their families daily lives and make healthier food choices.
Most women have heard that breastfeeding can give babies a healthier start to life. Breastmilk is designed to give infants the nutrients they need to grow and develop. Research shows that babies who receive only breast milk for the first six months of life are less likely to develop a wide range of chronic and acute diseases. Mothers often have to return to work and this can impose a hardship on continuing to breastfeed. Mothers need the support of their communities: employers, health professionals, and families can give needed support to help mothers balance work and breastfeeding. Employers can provide lactation rooms so that employees can express milk while they are away from their babies, health professionals can guide mothers to lactation resources and families can give encouragement and help with household chores. Babies that are breastfeed require less doctor visits. Therefore, mothers are absent from work less, and employers benefit in productivity. Lincoln County WIC offers educational information to pregnant and breastfeeding women. Mothers receive follow-up and support from trained peer counselors. WIC Protects, Promotes and Supports Breastfeeding.
A local celebration of Breastfeeding Week will be held next Friday (August 4th) at Highland Drive Park, 2770 Highland Drive (about halfway between Huss St. and Buffalo Shoals Rd.) beginning at 10 AM. Lactating mothers, mothers-to-be and others interested in learning more about breastfeeding and the WIC program are invited to attend this free event. For more information, call the Lincoln County Health Department at 704-736-8640.
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