Each August the staff of Garrett County WIC (Women, Infants and Children’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program) join the rest of the nation in celebrating National Breastfeeding Month, as well as joining the rest of the world in celebrating World Breastfeeding Week the first week of August. This year’s theme is Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility.
In addition, Governor Larry Hogan signed a proclamation making August 2021 Breastfeeding Month in Maryland.
Studies show that mothers who breastfeed are less likely to have breast and ovarian cancer, type II diabetes, and postpartum depression. Breastfed infants are less likely to be obese, have type II diabetes, asthma and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
“Breastfeeding is a universal solution that enables everyone the same, fair start in life, preventing hunger, malnutrition, and food insecurity,” the Proclamation states. “Protecting breastfeeding provides infants the healthiest feeding for the first six months of life, and in combination with family foods during the second six months of life or longer.”
“The WIC staff support moms in their exploration of choosing to breastfeed as a foundation for health for their children, regardless if they are a WIC participant or not,” said WIC Coordinator Heather Cooper. “We provide services to help them be successful in realizing their personal goals by providing prenatal and postnatal education and ongoing support after the baby is born.”
WIC’s staff includes an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) who assists clients in planning for feeding their babies. She provides individualized assistance, pumps for special needs and returning to work, and anticipatory guidance to help moms meet their goals. The services also include free weight checks for the baby, help with problem resolution, and referrals.
“We know that while a majority of moms initially breastfeed, far fewer are able to meet their goals on both exclusive breastfeeding and duration,” said Tracy Savage. “Our main focus in WIC is helping moms explore their personal goals, and providing accurate information, tailored support and encouragement to help them meet those goals.”
In addition to providing breastfeeding support, WIC provides nutritious supplemental foods, health screening, nutrition education, and referrals to other services as needed. Breastfeeding families receive the highest monthly food benefit dollar amount of any participant category in WIC.
For more information call the WIC Program at 301-334-7710 or 301-895-3111.