Most women know the benefits of breastfeeding extend well beyond basic nutrition. However, it often takes that knowledge as well as the support of family, friends and community for a mother to successfully breastfeed her baby beyond those first few days.
To raise awareness about the importance of this issue and give the community an opportunity to show its support, Cox Medical Center Branson and the Taney County Health Department have teamed up to host Steps for Success Breastfeeding Awareness Walk on Thursday, Aug. 4, from 6-7:30 p.m. at Branson RecPlex-Pavilion D, 1500 Branson Hills Parkway. In addition to the walk, the free event includes activities for children, refreshments and more.
“Breastfeeding can have a positive impact on a child’s health well beyond those first few years,” says Tammy Drake, WIC division manager, Taney County Health Department. “Breastfeeding also leads to healthier children, healthier moms and ultimately healthier communities. For those reasons, we have partnered with CoxHealth to host Steps for Success. We want families to not only learn about the importance of breastfeeding, but to also feel that they are supported in their decision to breastfeed.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2014 Breastfeeding Report Card, in 2011, 79 percent of newborns started to breastfeed, however, breastfeeding did not continue for as long as recommended. Of infants born in 2011, 49 percent were breastfeeding at 6 months and only 27 percent at 12 months.
“Research shows, educating mothers on the importance of breastfeeding is not enough,” says Melanie Lavoi, RN, Cox Medical Center Branson lactation consultant. “At the hospital, we encourage breastfeeding by offering education, help and support. When the mother and baby go home from the hospital, we follow up within the first three days to see how they are doing, offer any additional help that we can and let them know they are always welcome to come back for a consultation.”
Lavoi says the event is open to anyone and is a great way for the community to support local families.
“I hope that World Breast Feeding Week activities, including our Steps for Success event at Branson RecPlex, continue to raise awareness about the importance of breastfeeding and helps new moms feel the support they need to provide the best for their babies,” Lavoi says.
Call 417-334-4544 for more information.