Clark County works to make breastfeeding more common

Clark County WIC program employees Erin Sanford and Safiyyah Truss demonstrate how to properly put on an infant wrap as part of Breastfeeding Awareness Month activities. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF
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Clark County WIC program employees Erin Sanford and Safiyyah Truss demonstrate how to properly put on an infant wrap as part of Breastfeeding Awareness Month activities. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

The state of Ohio ranks 38th in the nation for breastfeeding so the Clark County Combined Health District is encouraging mothers — and their support system — to make it more common.

August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Carolyn Williams is director of Woman, Infants and Children for the Clark County Combined Health District. Breastfeeding has many benefits, she said.

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“There is lots of research that shows that breastfeeding babies has health benefits and health benefits to mothers as well. It reduces risks of reproductive cancer,” Williams said. “There is also bonding that can occur during the breastfeeding experience as well.”

This year’s theme is “Breastfeed: It’s a Team Thing.”

“The reason for that selection is we want to remind people that it takes a village. It’s not just the mom and the baby,” Williams said.

It takes the family and friends at home as well as community partners to make breastfeeding a common action.

“Normalizing breastfeeding is one of the goals of Breastfeeding Awareness Month. It’s just making people aware and just letting people know it is, in fact, normal,” Williams said.

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The health district and other community partners like the Rocking Horse Center and the Springfield Regional Medical Center teach infant feeding classes and programs to help mothers.

“Here at the Clark County Combined Health District, we have a breastfeeding peer helper program where we have on our WIC program,” Williams said.

Breastfeeding moms who have successfully breastfed one or more babies are trained and partnered with a mom who needs help, Williams said.

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Some moms do have some uncertainties, Williams said, and this program can help with that. That include breastfeeding in public, which she said some moms don’t feel comfortable or experienced enough to nurse in front of others.

This program helps by providing information the new moms can practice.

“Start nursing in front of a mirror. See what it looks like, see how much exposure they are giving. Often there is little exposure,” Williams said.

For more information about the breastfeeding programs at the Clark County Combined Health District, please call 937-390-5600.

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