Multnomah County WIC to host health fairs in honor of 20th anniversary of World Breastfeeding Week

August 1, 2012

To mark the 20th anniversary of World Breastfeeding Week, Multnomah County WIC will host health fairs for clients at East County, Gateway and Northeast health center offices.

Each year World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated Aug. 1 through 7 in more than 170 countries.

“Multnomah County has a lot to celebrate,’’ says David Brown, WIC program manager.

The county WIC program has already surpassed the national goal of 82 percent of newborns receiving breastmilk.

The County’s WIC staff is behind much of those gains, offering breastfeeding education to all pregnant WIC moms, breast pumps for moms with a medical need, those working or going to school as well as enhanced food packages for fully breastfeeding moms.

In 2011, Oregon WIC won a United States Department of Agriculture award for the highest rates of of breastfeeding initiation nationwide. For its efforts, the county was able to launch new programs aimed at discovering why breastfeeding rates in African American and Native American women are lower than optimal.

The county is partnering with community groups including the International Center for Traditional Childbearing and the Native American Youth Association to explore barriers and support for breastfeeding in those communities.

The  U.S. Surgeon General  has reminded the nation that:

  • Communities should expand  programs that provide mother-to-mother support and peer counseling.
  •  Health care systems should ensure that maternity care provides education and counseling on breastfeeding.
  • Clinicians should ensure that they are trained on caring for moms and should promote breastfeeding to pregnant patients.
  • Employers should work toward establishing paid maternity leave and high-quality lactation support programs. Employers should expand the use of programs that allow nursing mothers to have their babies close by so they can feed them during the day. They should also allow women with break time and private space to express breast milk.
  • Families should give mothers the support and encouragement they need to breastfeed.

WIC clients are invited to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week at:
East County WIC (Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.)
600 N.E. 8th St., Room 230, Gresham

Northeast Health Center WIC (Tuesday, Aug. 14, 1:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.)
5329 N.E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Portland

Gateway WIC (Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.)
131 N.E. 102nd, Bldg. #1, Portland

Participating organizations at these events includes La Leche League, Mt. Hood Legacy Lactation Services, Nursing Mother’s Council, Baby Massage and Birthing Way.

National WIC Association Breastfeeding Info