Monongalia County Health Department hosted a ‘Breastfeeding Awareness Walk’ Wednesday to help make expectant and breastfeeding moms feel more confident.
The health department said even with the enactment of West Virginia state legislation in June 2014 that affirmed a woman’s right to breastfeed anywhere in public, there is still confusion and discomfort around the practice. A ‘Diaper Derby’ and walk around the West Virginia Universities Erickson Alumni Center took place.
“Of course babies need to eat all day long, they eat 24 hours a day, and they’re growing faster than anyone ever does when they’re young babies. They do need to be able to eat wherever the mother is, and we have a long West Virginia Child Right to Nurse Act to protect women’s rights to breastfeed wherever they have a right to be,” said Lynne Ryan, Breastfeeding Coordinator at the Monongalia County Health Department.
Breastfeeding counselors were on hand to help expectant and new mothers learn about breastfeeding. The health department wants mothers to know that breastfeeding is good for their babies and that they offer support.
Health department statistics show that in 1991, less than 20 percent of Monongalia County Health Department Women, Infant, and Children moms tried breastfeeding. They stated that since expanding the breastfeeding program and adding counselors that this number has risen to 54 percent of mothers in the program trying to breastfeed.