August was designated as Breastfeeding Awareness Month. This year’s theme in Ohio was Breastfeeding – It’s a TEAM thing!
It’s aimed to promote the support person’s role in successful breastfeeding. Research shows that the more support a mom receives, the more likely she is to give breastfeeding a try and the more likely she is to keep it going even if things get tough.
Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to support successful breastfeeding. Businesses need to allow moms to feel comfortable nursing in public, according to the Fulton County Health Department.
There is a law in Ohio that allows moms to nurse in public. It was initiated in 2005, over 10 years ago, and moms are still being asked to leave establishments because they are feeding their hungry babies.
Places of employment can encourage moms and provide private spaces other than bathrooms to pump. It is a federal law that employers allow break time and a place for moms to pump until their child is one year of age.
The community has many great resources that promote and support breastfeeding. Fulton County Health Center employs two International Board Certified Lactation Consultants that offer breastfeeding classes twice a month for any mom or any family member who are interested in learning about breastfeeding. The WIC Program employs four staff members who are Certified Lactation Consultants. They begin educating moms prenatally and continue throughout the postpartum or as long as needed. There is also support offered to non WIC moms and the department facilitates a support group that meets once per month at Crossroads Church, the first Thursday of the month and is open to the public.
A Breastfeeding Coalition was recently formed and the support from various agencies is phenomenal. Local physician office staff, hospital OB personnel, Crisis Pregnancy Center representatives and Help Me Grow networked and learned about what we all do and how we can work as a TEAM to promote and support successful breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is a personal choice but communities play a vital role in a mom’s decision. It takes teamwork by family, friends, employers, business, hospitals and physicians to support a Breastfeeding Culture in the community.
For more information or support contact your local WIC program at 419-337-6979. You can also visit our website www.fultoncountyhealthdept.com