August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month in the United States, a campaign to promote and support breastfeeding in all forms. This year’s theme is ‘Enabling Breastfeeding: Making a difference for working parents’ to address the challenges parents face with lactation in the workforce. There are countless benefits to breastfeeding, many having to do with nutrition and physical health. However, breastfeeding also helps with brain growth that “contribute[s] to executive functioning and emotional regulation” and assists in the development of oral structures for feeding and speech ability (Genna, C., 2023). Breastmilk is a living substance that offers the perfect nutrition catered to each infant and lifelong protection against disease.
We recognize that not everyone will choose to breastfeed, nor will their circumstances allow for it. However, breastfeeding is a public health priority and should be a sustainable option for all families to improve child and maternal health outcomes. Our program, WIC, services pregnant and postpartum families who are at or below the 185% poverty line. We have lactation professionals and nutrition experts who are knowledgeable in infant feeding and behavior and are available to help parents make an informed decision and offer support. WIC provides a supplemental nutritious food package to aid in keeping families healthy and fed.
We ask that not only in the month of August, but every month, employers would be understanding and supportive of those who choose to provide breastmilk to their babies. That the community would rally around families who decide to offer the most natural and optimal choice for nutrition and connection. Just as everyone in society benefits from breastfeeding, everyone should contribute to making breastfeeding/providing human milk accessible to ensure a healthy future for Champaign County residents.
If you would like more information about the WIC program or to sign up call us at 937-484-1668 or visit our website @ champaignhd.com/wic.
Candice Myers, WIC Director, IBCLC
Champaign Health District