For Immediate Release: Monday, January 23, 2012
Sponsored by: Health and Human Services Department, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Division
January 31, Washington
County's Women, Infants
and Children (WIC) Program will be presented with a Breastfeeding Performance
Award that includes funding to be used for breastfeeding projects in the
county. Washington County WIC plans to use the grant in part to work with local
businesses to become breastfeeding-friendly, a key part of supporting breastfeeding
moms after they return to work.
award is given by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is part of the
Breastfeeding Performance Bonus Award given to the Oregon Nutrition and
Screening Program for WIC. Oregon
is one of six WIC agencies nationwide to receive an award for highest breastfeeding
the first time the awards have focused on the number of WIC mothers who exclusively breastfed their babies for
six months (no formula, water or other foods), which the American Academy
of Pediatrics has recommended since 1997. In 2010, nationally the rate was
3.3%; in Oregon,
it was 37%. In Washington County,
40.2% of WIC participants exclusively breastfed for six months.
an infant only breast milk for the first six months of life is an important way
to decrease a child's risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and future
risk of obesity, heart disease and some cancers. "Breastfeeding is one of the
best ways to give infants a healthy start in life," says Jennifer Vines, M.D., M.P.H.,
Washington County Deputy Health Officer. "There are benefits to the moms as
well, including significantly lower rates of breast and ovarian cancers."
In 2010, Washington County's WIC Program served 34% of all
pregnant women in the county and provided services to 20,727 women, infants and
children. The county has three certified lactation consultants on staff and
offers breastfeeding classes, post-partum breastfeeding support groups, as well
as breastfeeding equipment for working moms.
to Jeanette Howard, Public Health Lactation Consultant and Breastfeeding Peer
Counselor Coordinator for Washington
County, "We focus on
prevention by providing frequent contact with participants early on in
pregnancy. Beginning at four months of pregnancy and continuing through four
months post-partum, groups of women participate in a series of prenatal
education classes together. The groups are designed to be fun, engaging,
and promote peer-to-peer breastfeeding support."
the (peer counseling breastfeeding) group," says Jessica Bridgett of Beaverton. "It answered a
lot of my questions as I had a hard time breastfeeding my first child.It helped me have the confidence to get this
will be presented on Tuesday, January 31, at 11:00 AM, in the WIC Classroom on
the first floor of the Washington County Public Services Building, located at
155 N. First Avenue
Washington County's WIC program focuses on
nutritional support to low-income pregnant women and families with young
children. It includes breastfeeding support groups, nutrition education, and
vouchers for healthful foods available locally. For more information about WIC
services or eligibility, call Washington County WIC at 503-846-3555.
Wendy Gordon, Dept. Communications Coordinator