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Mothers learn tips for feeding

SOUTH POINT — Breastfed is best fed.

That was the message behind a ‘baby shower’ hosted Thursday afternoon by the Lawrence County Women, Infant and Children’s nutrition program — or WIC, an arm of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization.

The event was held at the Head Start Early Childhood Center in honor of August’s designation as National Breastfeeding Awareness Month.

Local women got the opportunity to get more information about the importance of breastfeeding, as well as the need for comprehensive prenatal and postnatal care. They also were treated to door prizes, games and refreshments, just like a traditional baby shower. There were about 35 women in attendance.

“We wanted to have an event that would highlight the importance of breastfeeding. And we wanted to give out information that pregnant women need,” said Denise Childers, WIC breastfeeding coordinator. “We thought it would be fun. Most of these women will be having showers of their own, but this is a way for all of us to celebrate the fact that they are having a baby.”

There are many benefits to breastfeeding for both mom and baby, according to WIC staff; it helps new moms burn calories, it keeps babies from getting sick and it is always readily available, among many others, they say. There is also another benefit — it’s free.

“The number one factor for me was the money,” said Kifin Judson, of Coal Grove. “I liked the idea that I could feed my child for six months and it was totally free.”

Judson has breastfed two children and said, although there were some bumps in the road, she never regrets her decision. She said it was simple and convenient.

She said, “I breastfed a total of about two years and I never had anyone give me a negative comment.”

Unfortunately, according to Childers, her experience is not always the norm locally. She said many people are uneducated about breastfeeding and how beneficial it is. There is a widespread lack of support for the effort, she said. Many people are embarrassed when a woman breastfeeds in public or feel that it is inappropriate. These attitudes may lead to low breastfeeding statistics, she said.

Debbie Bailey, WIC director, said only 12 percent of new mothers breastfeed, which is why National Breastfeeding Awareness Month is so vital to the movement.

“We need to get it out in the public. We need to let everybody know that it is a very important thing for both mothers and their children,” Bailey said.

For more information about breastfeeding call one of the two Lawrence County WIC offices; in Coal Grove, (740) 532-2646 and in Chesapeake, (740) 867-4956.