Health Department Column: It’s World Breastfeeding Week
By Tenika Reddick and Bianca Munoz
Rowan County Health Department
This year’s theme for World Breastfeeding Week is, “Breastfeeding and Work, Let’s Make It Work!” The theme revisits the 1993 World Breastfeeding Week campaign on the Mother-Friendly Workplace Initiative. So much has been achieved in 22 years of global action supporting women in combining breastfeeding and work. More actions have been taken to set up breastfeeding or mother-friendly workplaces, along with greater mass awareness on working women’s rights to breastfeed. Being a breastfeeding mom and going back to work or school can be challenging. If you put your mind to it, have a strong determination and have a support system in place, such as our Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program, you can reach your goals.
My name is Tenika Reddick I would like to help encourage and empower women who breastfeed and will return back to work or school. I was once asked a question which was, are you breastfeeding? With all of the struggles that I was going through, I said no, because I was in school, a single parent of six, and working full time. My next answer was, I will breastfeed for six weeks to see how it works out before returning back to work. How was I ever going to find time to breastfeed, let alone pump, while I was at work? However, six weeks turned into six months of pumping and nursing and six months turned into one year. So here I am now, an exclusively breastfeeding mom of a 1-year-old, employed by the Rowan County Health Department-WIC Program as a WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, and a full time student at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. My strategies were and are: consistent pumping, a clean and quiet pumping area, and a supportive work environment.
WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselors are:
- Mothers who have personal experience with breastfeeding.
- Trained to provide basic breastfeeding information and support to other mothers.
- Peer counselors promote breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the mother and baby.
- Provide mother-to-mother support in group settings.
- One-to-one counseling through telephone calls or visits in the home, clinic or hospital.
Caring for a newborn takes a lot of energy. Making sure that baby is getting enough to eat is one of a new mom’s prime responsibilities. Not only is breastfeeding the best nutrition, it also creates a close and emotional bond between mom and baby. Breastfeeding lowers your risk of ovarian and breast cancer. Your breasts are making colostrum, even before your baby is born. Colostrum is usually yellow and is truly LIQUID GOLD. Breastfeeding your baby frequently in the first few days will help your breastmilk supply to come in.
- Provides perfect first food for babies, free and ready to use.
- Is full of antibodies that fight germs.
- It prepares baby’s system for healthy digestion.
- Helps babies pass their first bowel movements.
The WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Program leads a once-a-month support group for all mothers and families where we encourage prenatal moms and families to sign up for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, commonly referred to as WIC. To receive Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Program services, you must be enrolled in the WIC Program first. If for any reason you do not qualify for the WIC program but are in need of breastfeeding support, here are some breastfeeding resources in Rowan County and the surrounding areas: Connie Hoffner, Novant Health Rowan Medical Center 704-210-5188; Cabarrus County La Leche League at http://www.lllofnc.org/groups/CabarrusCounty.html ; and the national breastfeeding helpline, 800-994-9662, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., EST (closed on federal holidays). Learning to breastfeed is kind of like learning to ride a bike. For some it might be easy, while others may need a little help. That’s why it is very important to have a support system and know your rights as a breastfeeding mother who is returning to work or school. We encourage you to educate yourself, stay determined, and know that there are resources available to you. On behalf of WIC and the Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Program we would like to invite you to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week at the Rowan County Health Department in the Community Room, Wednesday Aug. 5, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
For more information about WIC or the Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program, or to make an appointment, visit the Rowan County Health Department located at 1811 E. Innes St., Salisbury, or call 704-216-8777, option 4. You may also visit the WIC Web site at www.nutritionnc.com . USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
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