Breastfeeding event encourages community support

By Nikki Blankenship

The Scioto County Women, Infant & Children Program (WIC) in conjunction with the Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development’s COAD4Kids program is eager to support breastfeeding, and are getting the word out.

The two entities are coming together to host a “Family Fair & Breastfeeding Support Walk” on Friday, August 18.

“This fair and support walk is free to all Scioto County residents,” Melissa Wellman, nutritionist with WIC stated. “We are inviting local agencies and programs to set up a table that may benefit our community.”

The fair and walk is planned to celebrate World Breastfeeding Awareness Month.

“This year’s theme is ‘Breastfeeding: It’s a TEAM Thing!!,’ Wellman commented. “Breastfeeding reduces infant mortality, decreases chances for diabetes and cancers, and also lowers risk for childhood asthma and allergies. Breastfeeding also saves parents on average $1,250 per year.”

The event will be last from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is open to the public. The Breastfeeding Support Walk will begin promptly at 11 a.m. Walk route will go west on Second Street and return past the flood wall murals. Lunch will be provided.

“We have door prizes, inflatables, face painting fun for the whole family,” Wellman added.

Breastfeeding, as the best source of nutrition for infants, is more successful with community support that is achieved through such awareness events.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, being family and breastfeeding friendly is not only beneficial for the mothers but for the employers as well. Breastfeeding has been found to be beneficial to employers in a numbers of cost-saving ways, as reduces absenteeism as breastfeeding moms tend to miss less work because their babies are sick less often. In the same manner, breastfeeding reduces healthcare costs.

By supporting breastfeeding, employers can reduce staff turnover, higher productivity and morale, improve the business’ community image, and recruit more women. In a recent study, a health insurance company decided to put these thoughts to the test. The company followed 300 of their working moms for one year. They found that by encouraging breastfeeding, they could save $240,000 per year in healthcare costs and $60,000 per year as a result of lower absenteeism.

Doctors recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months after birth for the optimal health of a mother and her child.

By Nikki Blankenship

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.