Jefferson County, CO — August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month and August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), an annual celebration of breastfeeding to increase breastfeeding awareness to improve the health of mothers and babies. In honor of this important observance, Jefferson County Public Health’s (JCPH) Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program theme for WBW is Find Your Village. This aligns with the Colorado WIC Program’s theme, and supports the 2017 World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action’s (WABA) WBW efforts.
At JCPH, we believe an individual’s breastfeeding success involves finding support from all different areas in the community. That’s why our goal is to spotlight areas within Jefferson County where families can find the breastfeeding support they need.
Breastfeeding support can be found in many key areas throughout Jefferson County, including:
• Hospitals and clinics
• Healthcare providers
• WIC (Lakewood, Arvada and Wheat Ridge)
• Community resources
• Workplaces and schools
• Child care professionals
• Family and friends
“Breastfeeding is an important way you can give your baby a healthy start — but it’s not always easy,” said Kelsey Rivera, R.D., I.B.C.L.C., WIC Lactation Program Supervisor at JCPH. “We want moms to know they aren’t alone in this, and that there are many places to turn in the Jefferson County community for information and advice.”
Breastfeeding significantly impacts the health and wellbeing of mothers and babies, both in the short and long term. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests breastfeeding for at least one year due to numerous health benefits to mom and baby. Studies show that breastfed infants are less likely to develop ear infections, respiratory illnesses, diabetes, some childhood cancers and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and less likely to become obese later in life compared to formula-fed infants. The health benefits of breastfeeding only increase as breastfeeding exclusivity and duration increase.
Breastfeeding not only directly impacts the health of the family, but also has an impact on the health of the entire community and the world. Breastfeeding is a low-cost way of feeding babies, helping to reduce poverty and prevent hunger, undernutrition and obesity.
Breastfeeding Resources from JCPH
The JCPH WIC Program provides breastfeeding education and support to eligible Jefferson County families. WIC supports low-income mothers by providing highly nutritious food packages purchased at participating grocery stores, free access to breastfeeding information and counseling, breast pumps, community resources and referrals, and mom-to-mom support through the Breastfeeding Peer Counselor program.
- JCPH WIC will be hosting a Jeffco Breastfeeds Mini Fair on Friday, August 18, from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at our Lakewood location to celebrate National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. There will be free games, activities, information and prizes for the entire family.
- JCPH WIC offers a free breast pump loan program for mothers enrolled in the WIC Program.
- A free breastfeeding class is offered monthly at the Lakewood, Arvada and Wheat Ridge WIC clinics — as well as individual breastfeeding consults with a Lactation Consultant — for anyone in the community.
- There is a free breastfeeding support group offered monthly through JCPH and the Mothers’ Milk Bank, open to any breastfeeding moms in Colorado.
- JCPH now has lactation station privacy tents available upon request for use at any public events.
For information on the JCPH WIC Program and the valuable breastfeeding resources offered, contact Kelsey Rivera, R.D., I.B.C.L.C., at 303-239-7139 or [email protected].
About World Breastfeeding Week
To learn more about World Breastfeeding Week, visit the Colorado Breastfeeding Essentials website (www.breastfeedcolorado.com) under “Campaigns” for details and an idea action packet with free materials. You can also visit the WABA’s website at www.worldbreastfeedingweek.org.
Public Information Manager