Crookston, Grand Forks offer breastfeeding supportFor infants, there’s nothing like a mother’s milk. “Breastfeeding supports health and well-being for our smallest children,” said Sarah Reese, Polk County Public Health director.
By: Heidi Bounphithack , Grand Forks Herald
For infants, there’s nothing like a mother’s milk.
“Breastfeeding supports health and well-being for our smallest children,” said Sarah Reese, Polk County Public Health director.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breastfeeding protects against obesity, allergies, respiratory illnesses and infections. Breastfed babies also reduce the likelihood of succumbing to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by more than 30 percent.
“We call it super-healthy milk because it is loaded with anti-bodies and nutrients that help line the baby’s gut,” said Tammy Conn, International Board Certified Lactation Counselor with Polk County Public Health.
According to the North Dakota Department of Health in Grand Forks County, 61 percent of infants were solely breastfed in 2005. That number has since increased to 73 percent in 2010.
Yet, there are barriers that make breastfeeding difficult. Some mothers face an especially difficult time when employers do not support laws that allow them to take breaks to pump as needed.
Since 2010, businesses have been required by federal law to provide lactation support for employees. And those businesses that support it have experienced lower turnover rates and health care costs and fewer employee absences.
Conn said there are circumstances that do not always allow mothers to breastfeed, and that is something that would be determined by their health care provider.
The Polk County Women Infant Children (WIC) Program hosts monthly breastfeeding support sessions called “Mama’s Milk Connection.”
The program explores nutrition and the connection between baby and mom. It addresses any concerns parents might have while also creating a support system for new and existing mothers.
But as Conn stated, the gatherings are “not always about breastfeeding.”
Past sessions have focused on budgeting and couponing, as well as examining what parents can expect once the baby is born.
However, these sessions are not just available to breastfeeding mothers.
“There are most definitely people who are not breastfeeding who come to the Mama’s Milk,” said Reese.
Any member of the mothers support group is welcome to attend.
Mama’s Milk sessions are at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the Polk County WIC lobby.
The Greater Grand Forks Breastfeeding Coalition also hosts a similar support group at noon, on the third Tuesday of each month, at the Grand Forks WIC office.