The North Country Family Health Center’s WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Program is hosting its Big Latch On event virtually this year. The event, scheduled for Friday, July 31st, will be held as a “selfie campaign” – breastfeeding mothers are encouraged to take a photo of themselves breastfeeding, or expressing, and to share it on the WIC’s Peer Counselor’s Facebook page, North Country Breastfeeding Peer Counselors, with the hashtag #mybiglatchon2020, throughout the day on Friday, July 31st. This year’s Big Latch On kicks off World Breastfeeding Week, August 1 – August 7, 2020.
World Breastfeeding Week is held the first week of August each year and is celebrated around the world. The week is coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). The WABA is a global network of individuals and organizations concerned with the protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding worldwide. This year is the 28th celebration for WABA. The Global Big Latch On is recognized in over 30 countries. Last year, over 22,000 infants were breastfed during the same one minute all around the world. “Our Big Latch On event has been so popular in the community we did not want to have to cancel this year due to the pandemic, so staff came up with the idea of a “virtual” event. The goal of the event is always to support, encourage, and promote breastfeeding,” states Angel Carter, WIC Director. “Under our unusual circumstances this year it is even more important to support new moms and dads who are home with a newborn and maybe experiencing many “firsts” as new parents. We have been able to provide weekly virtual support groups and our Peer Counselors are also providing video chat support and consultations too.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months after birth. After the first 6 months and until the infant is 1-year-old, the AAP recommends that the mother continue breastfeeding while gradually introducing solid foods into the infant’s diet. After 1 year, breastfeeding can be continued if mutually desired by the mother and her infant. There are numerous benefits of breastfeeding – both for baby, and for moms. “We are very proud of our WIC staff for adapting to the challenges of the Pandemic,” states Kit Veley, FNP, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. “It is even more important during a time like this to reiterate the benefits of breastfeeding – not only for the newborn, but for the mother as well. Breastfeeding can be done safely and easily anywhere, but during the pandemic its more than helpful to breastfeed as new parents don’t have to go to a store to get formula. Breast-milk helps keep your baby healthy and supplies all the necessary nutrients in the proper proportions,” continued Veley.
North Country Family Health Center’s WIC Program not only provides benefits for nutritious foods to women, infants, and children, but also provides breastfeeding support and education. WIC offers Certified Lactation Counselors and Peer Counselors to all WIC moms to help them reach their breastfeeding goals.
WIC staff have coordinated, and will be hosting, virtual giveaways throughout the day on Friday, July 31st. For more information on WIC’s breastfeeding support program, or the Big Latch On event, please call the main WIC office at 315-782-9222, Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; you may also visit WIC’s North Country Breastfeeding Peer Counselors Facebook page for the latest updates. Due to COVID-19, all face to face WIC appointments have been suspended and ONLY phone appointments are being conducted at this time. Participants benefits will remain active with phone appointments. WIC staff would like to thank MVP Health Care for their sponsorship this year.