The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department’s WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Breastfeeding Support program has won the Gold level of excellence by the USDA Food and Nutrition Services program. The award was one of only two awarded in Tennessee. The program successfully met the “best practices” criteria, which demonstrate excellence in breastfeeding practices and support.
“We are very fortunate to have such great peer counselors in our program who are dedicated to giving our WIC moms the best support possible,” says WIC Breastfeeding Support Program Manager Jolene Hare, “And our knowledgeable WIC staff is committed to providing our moms with the resources to succeed."
The WIC Breastfeeding Support program provides information and education so that pregnant women can make an informed infant feeding decision. After delivery, WIC provides new moms with support to help them meet their breastfeeding goals.
As a participant in the program, pregnant and breastfeeding women have access to International Board Certified Lactation Consultants, peer counselors, classes, supplies, and more. The Health Department’s program supports English and Spanish participants.
Aug. 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week, which seeks not only to increase awareness and education for pregnant and breastfeeding women, but also to reduce stigma and promote a culture of acceptability of breastfeeding, especially in public places that are convenient to the mother and baby. All Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department health centers are breastfeeding friendly locations. The Health Department encourages more businesses to display the sign that breastfeeding moms are welcome.
All breastfeeding moms are invited to the “Big Latch ON” Saturday from 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m., held at the St. John United Methodist Church, 3921 Murray Hills Dr. The event is free and will be part of a global grassroots movement to show breastfeeding as a normal everyday activity. An attempt will be made to break last year’s record for the most baby’s “latched on” at one time around the world. There will also be light refreshments and children’s activities; see the Facebook event page for more information.
For more information about the Health Department’s Breastfeeding Support Program, call the breastfeeding coordinator at 209-8321, or the breastfeeding peer counselors at 209-8132 or 209-8016. The Tennessee Breastfeeding Hotline number is 1-855-4BFMOMS (1-855-423-6667).