Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Liberty, NY – Sullivan County is proud to announce its WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program has exceeded the New York State rate for mothers who are exclusively breastfeeding their babies at 6 months of age.
The 2016 rate for Sullivan County mothers enrolled in WIC who were exclusively breastfeeding their infants at 6 months of age was 18.2% compared to the state rate of 10.5%.
In addition, breastfeeding initiation among women in the Sullivan County’s Nutrition Program for WIC increased from 66.5% in 2011 to 80.1% in 2016, which is close to achieving the overall NYS rate of 83.4% announced by the NYS Health Commissioner earlier this month. This improvement represents a 33% increase in breastfeeding over five years for Sullivan County mothers enrolled in WIC.
“I am thrilled with the success in improving the number of women who are interested and successful in breastfeeding and am proud of Sullivan County Public Health’s WIC program,” stated Public Health Director Nancy McGraw. “We attribute this to the ongoing collaborative efforts of our WIC staff, breastfeeding peer counselors, public health nurses, bilingual outreach worker, and Healthy Families staff who all collaborate as a team to promote and support breastfeeding awareness.
“Also, as a partner of the Sullivan County Breastfeeding Coalition, we know that the collaborative efforts between Sullivan County Public Health Services’ WIC and Healthy Families Programs, the Rural Health Network, Maternal-Infant Services Network, Catskill Regional Medical Center, and other local non-profit agencies and individuals is paying off, as more women are choosing to breastfeed and are being supported with policies and programs to help them in the community,” she said.
Research shows that breast milk provides unique nutrients and antibodies that help protect babies from diseases such as ear infections, lower respiratory infections and diarrhea, and decrease the risk for asthma, diabetes and obesity later in life. For women, breastfeeding lowers their risk for breast and ovarian cancer, as well as diabetes.
Exclusive breastfeeding is a public health priority and a goal of the New York State Prevention Agenda, the blueprint for state and local action to improve the health of all New Yorkers.
Anyone with questions about area support groups for breastfeeding mothers or the WIC Program is welcome to call Sullivan County Public Health Services at (845) 292-5910 and press option 5 for the WIC Program.