World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year Aug. 1-7 in more than 170 countries to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. The theme for the week is “Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers”, and it highlights the importance of breastfeeding peer counselors in helping breastfeeding families be successful.
Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, Rachel Snider, also a certified breastfeeding educator, has been with the Livingston County Health Center since 2009. She works closely with the WIC participants and meets with each mom and family several times during their pregnancy. In talking with the moms and families, she teaches them about not only the benefits of breastfeeding, but also many of the helpful hints and techniques of the “how” to breastfeed.
Rachel offers a breastfeeding class at the health center and also at Hedrick Medical Center on a regular monthly basis.
Mini grants are available for businesses that want to become a designated breastfeeding friendly worksite, to help them set up a lactation room for their employees.
“So far, we have helped three businesses in our community to set up areas for their breastfeeding staff,” said program coordinator Anita Perry, R.N. They are: HyVee, Chillicothe Correctional Center, and Morningside Center.
Also this year, Rachel is hosting “The Big Latch On!” Thousands of breastfeeding women and their babies/children across the world will gather in their own communities to take part in the Big Latch On, a synchronized breastfeeding event in multiple locations. Locally, the Big Latch On will take place at Chillicothe Farmers Market West side of the Courthouse this Saturday, Aug. 3, at 10 a.m. For more information, call Rachel at 660-247-5653.
Livingston County Health Center, a breastfeeding friendly WIC Clinic, offers a wide range of services for breastfeeding mothers and families in the community.
“We have a private nursing nook that mothers can feed their babies in if they are out and about or after shots,” Perry said. “We also offer breast pumps to moms that are on WIC, and with the Maternal Healthy Children Grant, we are now also able to rent pumps, for a nominal fee, to breastfeeding mom’s in our community who are not on the WIC program.”
Those with questions may contact 646-5506 and speak with Anita Perry, RN, international board certified lactation consultant, or Rachel Snider, WIC breastfeeding peer counselor and certified breastfeeding educator.
The Health Center is also doing its annual media awareness campaign featuring local breastfeeding moms and their babies. This year, photographer Juliane Sykes volunteered to shoot the portraits, which will also be used in breastfeeding education materials and displayed at the health center.