From the Harford County Health Department:
Today kicks off World Breastfeeding Week 2018 and Harford County Health Department would like to take this time to promote breastfeeding within the county, as well as showcase the comprehensive breastfeeding support services offered by our Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program.
Breastfeeding is a natural and low-cost way to provide babies with the nutritional support they need for healthy growth and development. In addition to being a vital part of nutrition, breastfeeding supplies babies with antibodies to protect them from childhood illness and it supports long-term health, well into adolescence and adulthood.
Infant formulas do not contain the antibodies that are found in breastmilk. It is recommended that babies are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life, with nutritionally safe and sufficient solid foods being incorporated into their diet at this time point, and for breastfeeding to continue for up to two years in order for babies to reach optimal health, growth, and development.
The Health Department’s WIC Director, Kristen Perry, says: “Our WIC Program provides pregnant women and new mothers with professional support in the form of peer counselors, who are trained to support breastfeeding, lactation consultants trained to address complex breastfeeding issues, support groups for breastfeeding mothers, classes, and personalized information on breastfeeding and baby behavior. We’re proud of our services and are proud knowing that we’re giving mom’s the confidence and tools to succeed in breastfeeding.”
Evidence suggests that breastfeeding benefits mothers by reducing their risk for breast and ovarian cancer, type II diabetes, and postpartum depression. Nearly all mothers can breastfeed and a variety of resources exist today for mothers facing challenges in breastfeeding. If working mothers are provided a clean, safe, and private place to pump during their work day, they can continue to breastfeed once they return to work.
For more information regarding the Harford County Health Department’s WIC Program, visit: harfordcountyhealth.com.