Jefferson County, Colo. – Bringing a child into the world can be difficult, especially amidst recent concerns like the nationwide infant formula shortage. That’s why it’s so important new parents have a strong support system in place and are able to access the encouragement and assistance they need to help their baby have the healthiest start possible. For National Breastfeeding Month, celebrated each year in August, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) wants to encourage and offer resources to all nursing parents and their support people, and to remind them we are available and by their side throughout their infant feeding journey.
This year’s National Breastfeeding Month theme is “Together We Do Great Things,” and in addition to celebrating the benefits of breastfeeding, JCPH wants to emphasize that no matter how a family chooses to feed their babies, we all have a role to play in raising happy, healthy children together as a community.
“’Together We Do Great Things’ is the perfect theme for National Breastfeeding Month this year, especially considering some of the challenges our community has faced recently. We’ve seen parents struggling to find the resources they need to feed their babies, and with rising costs of just about everything, we know families are going through a lot,” said Kelsey Rivera, WIC Lactation Program Supervisor at JCPH. “But the Jefferson County community has gotten through so much by working together, and we can continue to grow stronger and make sure all our community’s children are safe, healthy, loved and fed."
To recognize the importance of nursing in our community, the Jefferson County Board of Health signed a proclamation recognizing August as Breastfeeding Month in Jefferson County and supporting the goals and efforts of National Breastfeeding Month and World Breastfeeding Week (Aug. 1-7). This proclamation, signed on July 19, 2022, serves as a reminder of how important strong community backing is for families with infants — as well as how JCPH hopes to continue to bolster a family-friendly environment across our county.
Many programs at JCPH, like the WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children)program, have worked to help parents through the recent struggles, including the formula shortage and the ups and downs of the COVID-19 pandemic. WIC has worked to provide consistent, reliable information to families on resources available to them, as well as to help families navigate complex health, benefits and support systems, all while providing a comprehensive and encouraging nutrition package to pregnant women, parents and children under the age of 5. In addition, Jeffco WIC partners with Mother’s Milk Bank, located in Arvada, to help those in need access safe, donated human milk for their babies.
Recently, the Jeffco WIC program was able to relaunch its breastfeeding and chestfeeding support group, which has been on hiatus throughout most of the pandemic. Now, the group, called Baby Café, meets once a week and offers nursing parents a space to access help and resources around lactation, as well as a sense of community and togetherness. Learn more about Baby Café.
This year’s National Breastfeeding Month celebration comes on the heels of new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). According to the June announcement, the AAP recommends better support for breastfeeding parents, including encouraging hospitals and birth professionals to work to create more equitable conditions that improve the initiation and duration of nursing. In addition, the AAP continues to recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and urges workplaces to implement policies that better care for lactating individuals. Read the AAP’s recommendations.
In addition to WIC, JCPH offers several other programs that help support nursing parents during their journey:
“At JCPH, we know all parents want to do what’s best for their baby and their family. We’re here to help however we can,” Rivera said.
JCPH invites our community to join us, and other lactation-friendly organizations and families statewide, at the fifth annual Colorado Breastival on July 30, 2022, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in Central Park in Denver, 8691 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. All individuals and families are welcome, regardless of if they nurse. The event is entirely free and will offer giveaways for those who RSVP.
To learn more about breastfeeding supports and programs offered at JCPH, please visit our website.
About Jefferson County Public Health
Public health is what we do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is a nationally accredited health department committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan for all people through prevention, education and partnerships. To learn more about JCPH visit https://www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH, Instagram @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.