Studies indicate babies that are breast-fed exclusively their first six months experience fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses and bouts of diarrhea. Also, the incidents of pneumonia and colds are reduced among breast-fed babies.
The Bear River Health Department is one of just six agencies in the nation to earn the USDA’s Gold Premiere Award, a recognition given to Women, Infants and Children (or WIC) agencies which were involved in fostering increases in the number of WIC participants who were still breastfeeding at six months.
It was awarded to Women, Infants and Children (WIC) agencies with exemplary peer counselor programs. Just over a third of WIC participants through BRHD were exclusively breastfeeding at six months; the national average is 12.9 percent.
“These health indicators for breast-fed babies hold true through life, to adulthood” said Sandy Ballard, lactation coordinator at Bear River Health. “At Bear River Health we have a great peer counselor program which is women helping women, or moms helping new moms to feel secure and answering questions, when they have them, about breastfeeding.”
She said statistics show the U.S. has been on a slow incline since the 1970s in the number of breastfeeding mothers.