birthmatters
August 2020

Breastfeeding Month

By Laura Maxson, LM

birthmattersAugust is here and, like the rest of the year, nothing is business as usual. Normally, Santa Cruz County Breastfeeding Coalition and WIC (Women, Infants and Children) would be inviting everyone to their annual Breastfeeding Walk and Health Fair, but that is not happening this year due to COVID19.Although families will not gather together in the park to celebrate this year, they will be able to participate in virtual activities all month long during National Breastfeeding Month. Locally, families can connect with the Breastfeeding Coalition and their member organizations on Facebook to learn more about the benefits of human milk and local/virtual events. (facebook.com/SCCBFC)

The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), created World Breastfeeding Week 1992. The United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) declared each August to be National Breastfeeding Month in 2011. The USBC’s theme for 2020 is, Many Voices United, (usbreastfeeding.org/p/cm/ld/fid=909)Here is how the month breaks down:

Week 1 (August 1-7)
WABA’s World Breastfeeding Week – Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet. “Breastmilk is a natural, renewable food that is environmentally safe: produced and delivered without pollution, packaging or waste.” (waba.org.my/wbw)
Week 2 (August 9-15)
Native Breastfeeding Week – The mission of the Native Breastfeeding Week community is to reflect the diversity of native breastfeeding experiences and/or encourage and uplift visibility of native breastfeeding experiences. (facebook.com/NativeBreastfeedingWeek)
Week 3 (August 16-24)
Spotlight on Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies. “It is the position of the United States Breastfeeding Committee that emergency preparedness should include provision for the protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding and safe infant/young child feeding.” (usbreastfeeding.org/emergencies)
Week 4 (August 25-31)
Black Breastfeeding Week – Revive. Restore. Reclaim. Look to Facebook (facebook.com/BlackBreastfeedingWeek) for an all-virtual celebration this year. Another great resource with racial issues in mind is the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition, which is “committed to addressing racial disparities in breastfeeding. With that goal in mind, the KBC strives to use an ‘equity lens’ to inform and guide our external work and also an ‘equity mirror’ to examine our internal structures, culture, and policies.” (ksbreastfeeding.org/our-work/racial-equity)

For many, COVID19 has made breastfeeding extra important, as well as extra challenging. Pandemic restrictions and cautions have cancelled many in-person helping situations. Hospital stays are shorter as families opt to quickly get back home. Family and friends still want to help but, in order to stay safe, many are not able to come by to lend a helping hand. It is a great time for everyone to gather resources and share them with new families, often in a perpetual state of overwhelm that limits them from reaching out to learn about what is available in the county.

Nursing Mothers Counsel offers lactation help (nursingmothers.org) and La Leche League has a listing of virtual group meetings (facebook.com/LaLecheLeagueUSA/events).

WIC services have switched entirely to online/phone contact. WIC provides lactation help and nutrition resources to low-income families. Many out-of-work families find that they suddenly qualify for this extra support (communitybridges.org/wic).

Sutter (477-2229) and Dominican (462-7862) hospitals, as well as Salud Para Le Gente (728-0222) are seeing lactation patients in person, as needed. Birth Network of Santa Cruz County has a special listing of members providing COVID19 services (birthnet.org). The Breastfeeding Coalition has put together a list of many breastfeeding support groups in the county that are now virtual. As with everything these days, double-check, as things are apt to change. These listings below tend to use the term mom or mother as opposed to more inclusive terminology. Any lactating or pregnant person is welcome to partake in the events.

  • Virtual support groups – Mondays 1 0:00-11:30am, Sutter Maternity Postpartum Wellness Group, Call 831-477-2229 for log-in, Santa Cruz County Moms only.
  • Virtual support groups -Tuesdays 10:00-11:30am, Sutter Maternity
    New Parent Support Group, Babies 0-9mo, Call 831-477-2229 for log-in.1:00-2:30pm
  • New Parent Support Group, Babies 0-1yr, Email [email protected] for Zoom link 2:00-2:45pm
  • Taking Care of Mama, Pregnant & New Mom Support, Call (415) 544-2395 or Email, [email protected] for meeting link. 5:30-7:00 pm
  • Dignity-Dominican Hospital Prenatal Support Group, Call 831-457-7099 or visit dignityhealth.org/dominican/pep to register.
  • Virtual support groups -Wednesdays 1:30am-1:00pm
    Dignity-Dominican Hospital New Mom’s Support Group, Call 831-457-7099 for more information, Email for Zoom Link: [email protected] Hosted by: Journey Talkovic, RN, CNM, WHNP 5:30-7:00 pm
  • Dignity-Dominican Hospital Prenatal Support Group, Call 831-457-7099 or visit dignityhealth.org/dominican/pep to register.

Virtual support groups -Thursday 12:00-1:20pm, Luma Yoga Mom & Baby Circle, Call 831-325-2620 or visit lumayoga.com for more info.
Kellymom offers a summary of COVID19 breastfeeding related recommendations (kellymom.com/covid19/covid-19-summary). Information can change, as research on this new virus is better understood. Be informed and know that there isn’t a better time to appreciate and celebrate breastfeeding.

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