The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program at Pike County Health Department has been designated as a “Breastfeeding Friendly WIC Clinic” by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services WIC and Nutrition Services. The WIC program at Pike County Health Department, serves an average of 525 participants each month by helping to provide healthy food and nutrition education to women and their children.
Only 27 local WIC agencies out of a total of 112 received the designation of “Breastfeeding Friendly.” The designation is based on facility requirements and staff support. Facility requirements include a private breastfeeding room and educational-promotional materials portraying breastfeeding as the preferred method of infant feeding. Additionally, all staff must have a positive attitude toward breastfeeding and encourage breastfeeding as the normal feeding choice for infants.
Certified staff must also be available to support clients in successful breastfeeding. Pike County Health Department WIC program meets this requirement by providing a Peer Counselor, a Breastfeeding Educator, and breastfeeding supportive staff. Breastfeeding supplies, such as breast pumps, are available, and participants are encouraged to attend breastfeeding classes. A Breastfeeding Support Group is open to all Pike County residents and meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 5 p.m. in the conference room at Pike County Health Department.
In order to accommodate the greater need of staff to support lactation, an additional $10,000 in funding was provided by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to Pike County Health Department for personnel costs. Evidence shows that implementing best practices in breastfeeding will increase the number of women who choose and continue to breastfeed.
All prenatal mothers enrolled in WIC at Pike County Health Department receive education about breastfeeding.
“We are excited and proud to offer breastfeeding support to women in our area,” said Jennifer Eisenhower, WIC Coordinator and Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Coordinator at Pike County Health Department. “Our goal in achieving Breastfeeding Friendly WIC Clinic status is to increase the number of women who choose to breastfeed.”
Eisenhower cited research prepared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showing that breastfeeding offers many advantages including the ease of newborn digestion. Breast milk helps to fight illness thanks to the hormones and antibodies it provides. Breastfeeding also promotes life-long health of mothers and babies by lowering the rate of obesity and diabetes which are shown to be significantly lower in breastfed infants and their mothers.
If you have any questions please contact Jennifer Eisenhower, WIC Coordinator or Brittany Dain, Breastfeeding Peer Counselor at (573) 324-2111, or to receive breastfeeding information and reminders of meeting times follow them on Facebook at PCHD Breastfeeding Support Group.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.