The Washington County Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program will celebrate Minnesota Breastfeeding Awareness Month throughout August and World Breastfeeding Week Aug. 1-7. This year's theme is "Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding."
These events help raise awareness of the importance of breastfeeding for both babies and mothers, and calls attention to local efforts to support breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can save lives and improve health, and support from family, employers, childcare and health providers plays a critical role in enabling am other to breast feed.
90% of Minnesota mothers start out breastfeeding, but one-third of those will stop before six months, according to the latest Breastfeeding Report Card, released by the Center for Disease Control. About half of Minnesota infants are exclusively breastfed by three months. For mothers receiving WIC benefits, 80% start out breastfeeding, but by six months only one third still are. WIC works to provide information to help women get a strong start with exclusive breastfeeding.
Women can face challenges in meeting their breastfeeding goals, but thanks to the efforts of WIC, Living Healthy in Washington County and other local organizations, that's changing. A growing number of health care providers, child care facilities and employers are working to address barriers and make breastfeeding easier for new months.
When breastfeeding is made easier, mothers can reach their goals and give their babies the best possible start in life. For more information on breastfeeding, or the WIC program, contact the Washington County Department of Public Health and Environment at 651-430-6655 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can also be found at livinghealthwc.org/breastfeeding-support.