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August is National Breastfeeding Month, and Texas WIC has established this year’s theme as “Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility” to ensure moms have the support they need to meet their breastfeeding goals.
“The idea that breastfeeding is the sole responsibility of the mother is outdated,” said Lindsey Gray, infant feeding strategist for Texas WIC. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Texas WIC is encouraging local and regional WIC offices, lactation centers, health care providers, employers and communities to team up in promoting the benefits of breastfeeding and show their support for nursing mothers.
“Research shows us that moms benefit tremendously from support from their social network and surrounding community,” said Texas WIC Director Edgar Curtis.
That support is very important throughout the period of time a mother chooses to breastfeed, as the rates for breastfeeding drop over time and are lowest among Black and Hispanic mothers, Texas WIC officials said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 86 percent of babies born in Texas in 2017 began breastfeeding (PDF), but only about 55 percent continued to be breastfed at 6 months of age and less than 24 percent received only breastmilk as recommended by all major health organizations.
“Health care providers, the community and employers need to understand it benefits not only mom and baby, but also the community in terms of reduced sick days and savings for the health care system. We need to increase awareness of laws that support breastfeeding in public and the workplace,” said Andrea Urquidez, Texas WIC Infant Feeding branch manager.
Throughout August, Texas WIC clinics will host activities focused on bringing awareness to racial disparities in breastfeeding rates and addressing the barriers faced by these mothers. Celebrations to include:
- Aug. 1–7: World Breastfeeding Week
- Aug. 8–14: Native Breastfeeding Week
- Aug 15-21: Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Week
- Aug. 25–31: Black Breastfeeding Week
More information and resources about breastfeeding:
- Texas WIC’s comprehensive breastfeeding website, breastmilkcounts.com.
- Firsthand information about breastfeeding support from Texas WIC client Jazmin and peer counselor Vanessa.
- WIC’s online classes about breastfeeding, infant care and many other topics for parents.
- A database of lactation support groups, classes and personalized counseling available through community partnerships and WIC clinics across the state.
In partnership with the Texas Department of State Health Services’ Maternal and Child Health program, Texas WIC offers no-cost breastfeeding services at five Lactation Support Centers across the state and through the 24/7 Texas Lactation Support Hotline, 855-550-6667.