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Encourage breastfeeding

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The Summersville WIC office, like most, offers breastfeeding mothers a comfortable place in town where they can breastfeed and chat with staff. Photo: Kate Long

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Breastfeeding organizations hold events that get parents together for support and fun. The West Virginia Breastfeeding Alliance sponsored a Baby Crawl Contest at a park day in Dunbar. Photo: Kate Long

Six months of breastfeeding gives babies extra immunity against diabetes and other chronic diseases, studies show. Breastfed babies are also less likely to become obese kids. Mothers who breastfeed get immunities and lose their pregnancy weight more easily.

In Huntington, moms have banded together to form Wild Wonderful Breastfeeding. They make house calls, take phone calls and answer texts from new mothers. They respond to late night, holiday or weekend calls.

Women in Huntington, Greenbrier Valley and Central West Virginia have all put together support groups in their areas. The West Virginia Breastfeeding Alliance has put together a manual, How to form a support group, to help women in other areas.

Important facts:

* The WIC program, serving about 50,000 people a month, encourages breastfeeding, offers classes and support and gives breastfeeding mothers extra food coupons for theur families.  See WIC statistics.

* The West Virginia counties with the lowest breastfeeding rates also have the highest obesity and chronic disease rates and the lowest income. See chart: WV’s breastfeeding rate is lowest in areas where chronic disease is highest.

* To give babies the full immunity benefit, mothers should breastfeed without any solids offered before 6 months. Moms can continue to breastfeed even after baby begins receiving solid foods, nutritional experts say.

 

Make it easier for moms in your community to breastfeed:

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Some hospitals have breastfeeding coaches, recognizing that all moms don’t automatically know how. WIC breastfeeding coach Jenny Morris regularly visits WIC moms at Charleston’s Thomas Memorial Hospital. Photo: Kate Long

 

Here are other useful online resources:

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3 Comments

  1. Hi there, I have just discovered this wonderful page! At the end of the first section I saw this sentence “To give babies the full immunity benefit, mothers should breastfeed for at least six months and preferably a year, with no other foods, nutritional experts say.” I think it might make moms think they should give ONLY breastmilk for the first year. Perhaps it could be rephrased as : “To give babies the full immunity benefit, mothers should breastfeed without any solids offered before 6 months. Moms can continue to breastfeed even after baby begins receiving solid foods.” Just my 2 cents!
    Jenny Morris

    • Thanks, Jenny! Done!

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