Last year, the Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program, known as WIC, made a difference for over 304,000 people in Washington State. WIC helps improve the health of pregnant women, new moms, and families with children under age 5 through monthly checks for healthy food, health screenings and referrals, breastfeeding support, and nutrition education. Dads, grandparents, and other caregivers of children under the age of 5 may also sign kids up for WIC.
Help us reach more people who may be missing out on this important nutrition resource. WIC materials are free to any service provider (including employers!) in Washington State. Visit us online to order materials, or to simply learn more about WIC eligibility.
Finding a WIC clinic close to you is easy! Families can text “WIC” to 96859 to find a clinic in their area. Families can also go online to the ParentHelp123 Resource Finder or call the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588 to learn more about WIC.
benefit programs Breastfeeding support Child Development Family Health Hotline ParentHelp123 WIC WIC vouchers
Babies were born to breastfeed. We say it all the time, yet there are a lot of factors in our society that impede a baby’s access to her mother’s breast (and all the good that comes with that). If you look at breastfeeding rates 60 years ago, you’d be amazed to see how uncommon breastfeeding was. With the rise of manufactured infant formula and several other factors, by around 1970, just 25% of babies were ever breastfed
(p. 17) and only about 5% of babies were breastfeeding at 6 months. Today in Washington State, 9 out of 10 babies begin life breastfeeding. We’ve certainly come a long way! Mothers, health care providers, employers, the public health system and the larger community have rallied to make breastfeeding the norm in our state- at least as far as initiation is concerned. A key component of this breastfeeding support network is peer counselors, also known as mom-to-mom supporters.
August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week
(WBW), where over 170 countries come together to jointly acknowledge and celebrate the role and importance of breastfeeding in humanity. Indeed, we often forget that for the vast majority of human existence, all babies from all cultures were exclusively breastfed.
This year’s World Breastfeeding Week theme, ‘Breastfeeding Support: Close To Mothers’, highlights Breastfeeding Peer Counseling. Even when mothers get off to a good start, all too often in the weeks or months after delivery there is a sharp decline in breastfeeding rates, particularly exclusive breastfeeding. The period when mothers do not visit a healthcare facility is the time when a community support system for mothers is essential. Continued support to sustain breastfeeding can be provided in a variety of ways. Traditionally, support is provided by the family. As societies change, however, in particular with urbanization and geographic distancing between family members, support for mothers from a wider circle is needed, whether it is provided by trained health workers, lactation consultants, community leaders, partners or from friends who are also mothers. WA State is lucky to have a strong WIC peer counseling program
. These mothers, and the WIC staff behind them, work tirelessly to support women in their community, so moms can meet their own breastfeeding goals… and it’s making a difference in the lives of families.
From naval bases, to community picnics and walks, to Big Latch On events, to the Tribal Canoe Journey, Washington is turning out this week to celebrate breastfeeding. For a list of events led by breastfeeding coalitions across the state, visit the WithinReach website
. To learn more about this year’s WBW theme, visit worldbreastfeedingweek.org.
World Breastfeeding Week signals to me a yearly chance for us to come together. Celebrations of motherhood and of community are what this week is all about- the relationships we have and how we support each other. It sounds cliché, but together we have truly turned the tide… from 25% to 90%. How awesome is that?!
breastfeeding peer counseling WIC world breastfeeding week. breastfeeding support