July 2024

Breastfeeding Support for All

August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. World Breastfeeding Week is August 1-7, with the theme, Closing the Gap: Breastfeeding Support for All. Mark your calendars now, to participate in upcoming activities next month.

Recognition for Employers – Just thinking about leaving a little one to go back to work can be hard for many nursing mothers. Employers can play a critical role in easing the transition by encouraging breastfeeding through appropriate lactation accommodations. Knowing there are resources, as well as support for pumping at the workplace can help lessen the stress around returning to work. All California workers are entitled to breaktime and a designated space to express their milk at work, but not all employers are clear on how they can or should help.

It is to the employers benefit to promote and support breastfeeding. Breastfeeding workers have fewer absences, experience lower healthcare costs, and have less worker turnover. Some bosses do the minimum expected and others go the extra mile to help lactating workers feel supported. Any employer in Santa Cruz or San Benito Counties providing lactation accommodations can be nominated to receive a certificate of recognition. Such a nice way to say thank you for supporting breastfeeding in the workplace and our community. Anyone can nominate a business for recognition by contacting Erika Costanzo at [email protected]. Nominations should be made by August 31, 2024, and include the business name, along with the lactation accommodations provided.

Breastfeeding Health Fair, August 9 – Community Bridges Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Program will host their annual Breastfeeding Walk and Health Fair on Friday, August 9, from 3:00 – 5:30pm at the Watsonville Plaza Park in downtown Watsonville. This fun, family event includes giveaways, games, snacks, a live DJ, and free T-shirts, along with plenty of fun and information. Members of the Santa Cruz County Breastfeeding Coalition, as well as a variety of community services, and organizations will be there.

Walk for Breastfeeding, August 9 – In conjunction with the Breastfeeding Health Fair, everyone is invited to join in a short walk downtown, complete with babies, strollers and signs to bring awareness to the importance breastfeeding. The City of Watsonville traditionally hangs a banner over Main Street proclaiming breastfeeding support. Lots of fun, pro-breastfeeding signs and chants, in both English and Spanish, accompany the horns honking back in support.

Proclamations – WIC received a proclamation from the City of Watsonville on July 9, recognizing the importance of breastfeeding and honoring the dedication of the WIC program, serving Watsonville families for 50 years. Another proclamation in honor or Breastfeeding Awareness Month is expected in August from Santa Cruz County.

Human Milk Donations – A donation station from the San Jose Mother’s Milk Bank will be available at the Breastfeeding Walk and Health Fair on August 9. Frozen milk donations of any size are welcomed at this event. Members of the Santa Cruz County Breastfeeding Coalition are joining with the Mother’s Milk Bank to promote milk donations throughout the entire month of August. Help is needed to spread the word about the importance of banked human milk for vulnerable babies, and the ease of signing up to be a donor

Local Resources – Santa Cruz County has a variety of options for breastfeeding/chestfeeding support in the community. These include classes, support groups, and organizations such as Nursing Mothers Council. International board-certified lactation consultants (IBCLC), along with other trained counselors offer breastfeeding support. Local independent family resource centers, as well as county agencies, the Santa Cruz County Breastfeeding Coalition, hospitals, and other local clinics and programs offer support to nursing families. Birth Network of Santa Cruz County has listings for lactation resources online and in their printed guide.

Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months, with breastfeeding continuing for at least one year, and extending to two years or beyond. Help “close the gap” by recognizing the importance of breastfeeding all year long.

By Laura Maxson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *