Each August, Texas WIC promotes the value of breastfeeding for the health of infants, children, and women by observing World Breastfeeding Month. During WBM, many WIC clinics across the state host receptions for breastfeeding women and the people who support them in their decisions to breastfeed.
Activities honoring breastfeeding families and educating the public about the many benefits of breastmilk for infants and children include:
- Presentations of certificates of recognition to breastfeeding moms
- Community celebrations
- Health fairs
- Coloring contests for children
- Receptions or baby showers for breastfeeding moms
2019 National Breastfeeding Month
This August, Texas WIC will celebrate this special month by adopting the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action’s theme: EMPOWER PARENTS, ENABLE BREASTFEEDING! This theme celebrates the meaningful contributions that both parents make as members of the breastfeeding team.
All major health organizations endorse breastfeeding as the ideal choice for babies and recommend exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding for a year or beyond. Despite the recommendation to breastfeed exclusively for about the first 6 months, less than 50% of infants were exclusively breastfed through 3 months and about 25% were exclusively breastfed through 6 months.
WIC staff know that breastfeeding is important for the health of mothers and babies and the entire family. Awareness and support is a critical first step in enabling mother’s efforts to breastfeed. That is why campaigns like National Breastfeeding Month are so important.
- Keep it visual. Have displays/posters and bulletin boards with breastfeeding materials and breastfeeding promotional giveaways in clinics during August. Play breastfeeding videos such as DV0001 - The Mom Team presents: What to Expect from Your New Baby DVD in the lobby/waiting room.
- Share Living knowledge. Invite nursing moms to talk to expectant mothers and partners, share their breastfeeding experiences, and answer any breastfeeding questions.
- Educate. Set up a booth at a local fair or Farmer’s market with different activities to highlight and promote the health benefits of breastfeeding for families. Incorporate Educational Games to engage participants as they learn about the benefits of breastfeeding. Host a breastfeeding educational event. Invite a lactation specialist to talk to staff about important breastfeeding topics (i.e. Breastfeeding and going back to work or Shifting perceptions of breastfeeding).
- Partner with local community to provide breastfeeding information and activity booths at farmer’s markets or county fairs. Work with a local library or community center to create a breastfeeding-friendly display made of books or positive breastfeeding images. You can list facts or women’s rights in the work place.
- Support. Hold a community breastfeeding support group – Discuss the myths and barriers that surround breastfeeding and possible ways to overcome these barriers. Staff can refer to the Myths section on breastmilkcounts.com website for talking points.
- Organize a walk to create awareness and promote breastfeeding culminating in a community event such as Big Latch On.
- Reach out. Call your local newspapers, radio, and television stations and encourage them to run a piece on the benefits of breastfeeding. Conduct outreach to physicians’ offices to promote breastfeeding. Share breastfeeding promotional materials for consistent breastfeeding messaging as well as promote WIC as a breastfeeding resource for follow-up and continuity of services.
- Advocate. Get in touch with your local city council member, senator, or congressman and invite them to participate in World Breastfeeding Week activities. Build capacity and disseminate information related to parent-friendly work policies and support at the workplace.
- Reduce disparities. Conduct outreach activities targeting populations that are hardest hit by health inequities and disparities in your community and use this platform to promote breastfeeding as a way of bridging the health disparities gap. Identify new community organizations already working with these target populations and develop relationships/partnerships with them.
- Celebrate. Collect breastfeeding mom and baby photos and display in your front reception along with current breastfeeding statistics. Give moms a copy of the pictures. Celebrate Black Breastfeeding Week during the last week of August. Visit www.blackbreastfeedingweek.org for activities that can be done to narrow disparities in client breastfeeding rates and to honor your African American and other WIC participants during this week.
To increase attendance and participation in your National Breastfeeding Month activities
- Advertise the event(s) to and invite currently enrolled participants, their support persons, local hospitals and to the entire community.
- Provide promotional and “give away” items. Example materials include, Sing to me Lullaby CD (stock # CD0030), Breastmilk Storage Guidelines Magnet (stock #13-06-11968/A), and Every Ounce Counts sticker (stock #13-06-13393).