BOWLING GREEN — Ohio is celebrating August as Breastfeeding Awareness Month, and this year’s theme is “Empower Families, Support Breastfeeding.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life in order to provide the best possible start in all areas of development. Health benefits for the infant may include reduced risk of obesity later in life, reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome, fewer ear and respiratory infections, a reduced risk for both juvenile and type-2 diabetes, and an average increase of 6 IQ points at age 6.5.
Mothers also experience lifetime benefits from breastfeeding, which can help lower BMI, blood pressure, triglycerides, waist circumference and LDL cholesterol. Breastfeeding longer also lowers mothers’ risk of type-2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Evidence shows that mothers who exclusively breastfeed also have a lower risk of depression.
Wood County WIC is celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with activities Aug. 1-7. WIC staff assisted with an air-conditioned family rest station at the Wood County Fair, and were present to offer encouragement and information to breastfeeding moms each morning from 9 to noon. WIC is also holding raffles this month for gift baskets for breastfeeding moms. Leading Lady, a supplier of nursing bras, tanks and other clothing, is donating items to share, and Ohio WIC provided scarves to support and encourage breastfeeding moms.
Wood County WIC has two full-time certified lactation consultants who offer breastfeeding support and help with basic breastfeeding issues, breast pumps and referrals. The breastfeeding team, peer Ashley Rood and coordinator Ashley Donaldson, works with Wood County Hospital to visit new moms who deliver at the hospital’s Family Birthing Center. The team visits the hospital up to three times each week to provide support, breastfeeding education and information about WIC services and help families sign up. They share Wood County Hospital’s Pregnancy Education Program schedule, which offers prepared childbirth, breastfeeding and lactation services. This wraparound service gives moms prenatal information, preparation for their baby’s birth, and then support at the hospital and on to home.
The mission of Wood County Health Department is to prevent disease, promote healthy lifestyles and protect the health of everyone in Wood County. Our Community Health Center provides comprehensive medical services for men, women and children. We welcome all patients, including uninsured or underinsured clients, regardless of their ability to pay, and we accept most third-party insurance. For more information, visit WoodCountyHealth.org