WESTCHESTER, NY -- To promote the important benefits of breastfeeding and to honor mothers who choose to breastfeed their babies, the Westchester County Health Department WIC program held breastfeeding celebrations for clients in its Yonkers, Port Chester and White Plains clinics this week during World Breastfeeding Week.
A newly trained peer counselor, along with 68 women who currently breastfeed their babies and pregnant women who plan to were congratulated and presented with certificates. The women shared their stories, enjoyed refreshments and played games that demonstrated their breastfeeding know-how.
“The importance of this selfless gift cannot be overstated,” said Dr. Amler. “The health department encourages all new moms to give breastfeeding a try and urges residents to support the efforts of all mothers to continue breastfeeding as their babies grow. Breastfeeding provides important nutrients and protection against diseases for babies and it benefits moms, too.”
The health department’s Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) currently provides services to approximately 11,500 enrolled participants. During the first six months of this year, on average, nearly half of all WIC infants were breastfeeding, and one in five were exclusively breastfeeding.
WIC is a federally funded short-term nutrition intervention program with long-term health benefits. WIC provides nutrition assessment, education and counseling, breastfeeding promotion and support, along with vouchers to buy healthy food and referrals for health and social services. The WIC Program has 12 certified lactation counselors on staff to help women with breastfeeding.
Benefits to babies who receive their mother’s milk:
- fewer ear infections, respiratory infections and digestive infection;
- lower risk of developing diabetes or cancer;
- lower risk of developing asthma and allergies;
- less likely to be obese later in life; and
- less likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Benefits to women who breastfeed their infants:
- recover faster after birth and tend to lose pregnancy weight faster;
- less likely to develop diabetes;
- reduced risk for breast and ovarian cancer;
- less stress and reduced risk of postpartum depression;
- enhance their bond with their baby through skin-to-skin touching and eye contact that is shared during breastfeeding;
- save time: breast milk is always ready;
- save money by not buying formula.