Blue Earth County, along with the Minnesota WIC Program are working to promote breastfeeding throughout August by taking part in national awareness efforts. The 2014 Breastfeeding Awareness Theme “Mom’s Milk: Made Just for Me!” conveys the unique properties of breastmilk.
Breastmilk composition differs for a premature baby than for a full term baby, changes from the beginning to the end of the feeding, and changes as baby gets older. The most dramatic change is from the early milk, which is thick, to the later milk which is thinner. Although the first milk may seem like a small amount, WIC programs are sharing that “Mom’s first milk is the right amount for my tiny tummy.” By feeding only breastmilk, mom’s milk supply adjusts to meet the needs of the baby – one baby, or even twins or triplets. Babies don’t need any other foods until they are about 6 months old.
There is much to celebrate in Minnesota:
• The majority of Minnesota women breastfeed. In 2013 over seventy seven percent of WIC participants initiated breastfeeding. In Blue Earth County over 82% women initiated breastfeeding in 2013.
• There are many places for women to obtain information about and support for breastfeeding, including local WIC programs throughout the state. Additional sources of information can be found by calling 1-877-214-BABY.
• Women are excited about breastfeeding. Here are comments shared recently by Minnesota moms:
-“The way he looks into my eyes while nursing, the love you can feel...it's indescribable. It makes me feel like I am a super hero, providing this wonderful thing for my baby. It's something that only I can do!”
-“I love the bond with my babies and it’s just plain easier.”
-And from a mom who had some initial challenges “If you have goals, stick to them. If you are strong about your wishes when it comes to breastfeeding, you can accomplish those goals! ...trust that what you're doing for your baby has benefits that will last a lifetime.”
• Dads, grandmothers and others are increasingly aware of the importance of breastfeeding and of the important roles they play in supporting breastfeeding, and in their child’s life.
While most people know of the importance of breastfeeding for the health and development of the child, less well known is the importance of breastfeeding to mothers. In addition to the closeness to their infant and the knowledge that breastmilk is something that only they can provide their baby, research suggests that not breastfeeding can increase a woman’s chance of some cancers, type 2 diabetes, and even heart attacks.
In conjunction with National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, Blue Earth County will be providing special bags to mothers visiting it’s WIC clinic and informational materials about breastfeeding. The State WIC Program has also received a USDA/FNS Regional Office Grant to put on a local program titled “Building Bridges for Breastfeeding Duration: A Best Practice Educational and Networking Opportunity” with the assistance of South Central College and Mankato Clinic. The program will be held at South Central College on August 14 and is geared towards providing collaboration between hospitals, WIC Programs and community partners in offering lactation support services. It is also considered a professional development opportunity for a variety of providers to learn best practices and to develop relationships with other professionals assisting with breastfeeding support to clients in the region.
To learn more about WIC breastfeeding reports, see:
For more information about the importance of breastfeeding for women see:
• Bartick, M, et al. Cost Analysis of Maternal Disease Associated With Suboptimal Breastfeeding. Obstet Gynecol 2013; 122:111–9 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23743465
The Blue Earth County WIC clinic is located in the Blue Earth County Government Center at 410 S. 5th Street, Mankato and can be reached at 507-304-4148. Additional information about Blue Earth County WIC services can be found online at www.blueearthcountymn.gov.