The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community’s WIC Program helped celebrate World Breastfeeding Week at the River People Health Center’s (RPHC) First Friday event on Friday, August 5. World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7 annually, is a time for organizations to help inform mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding and to help those who advocate for breastfeeding to learn more about how they can strengthen their role in supporting and encouraging mothers to breastfeed.
At the RPHC’s First Friday, the WIC Program’s booth provided their visitors with handouts on breastfeeding and a breastfeeding questionnaire to get an idea of how many people are aware of the importance of breastfeeding. Every person who filled out the questionnaire received some earrings as a small gift.
“We are here to help all the Community and our WIC clients with breastfeeding. Maggie Fisher and I are lactation consultants and are able to help mothers breastfeed,” said Senior Community Nutrition Specialist Jamie Schurz. “For example, we were able to help a new mom who just got out of the hospital after having her baby. She wanted to continue to breastfeed [at home] but needed some help and support, and we provided that for her.”
Breastfeeding not only saves money on formula, it boosts the baby’s immune system. Breast milk has components that naturally prevent harmful bacterial growth, protecting the child against mild to severe infections including digestive, respiratory and other infections. Breast milk helps the baby develop its digestive tract and is easily absorbed and well suited for the baby’s system.
Mothers gain health benefits from breastfeeding as well. Breastfeeding helps burn calories, which can help you lose weight, and it helps lower mothers’ risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, as well as diabetes.
Community education on breastfeeding will continue on throughout August. At the end of the month, the WIC Program will host Native Afterglow, an event that will discuss topics such as breastfeeding and what new moms can expect in the early postpartum days. This workshop will be presented by Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, a traditional healer, author, natural foods chef and community herbalist, on Wednesday, August 31, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the RPHC. To register, or for more information about breastfeeding, call (480) 362-7300 or email WIC@srpmic-nsn.gov.