Local coalition to celebrate breastfeeding

photo by: World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action/Courtesy Image

World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action World Breastfeeding Week

What if there was a medicine that could lower the risk of breast and ovarian cancer for moms and prevent infectious diseases, lower the risk of obesity and lower respiratory infections, and increase intelligence for children?

That medicine is called breastfeeding.

This year, from Aug. 1-7, people nationwide will celebrate this medicine for World Breastfeeding Week. This week is a time for mothers, children and families to learn about breastfeeding and show support. If you are nursing, pregnant, curious or just want to show support, join the Lawrence community on Aug. 4 for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week celebration.

Emily Hartford, community member with the Breastfeeding Coalition of Douglas County, is looking forward to the celebration. This event will have many different opportunities for community members to learn and show support.

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“It’s going to be an exciting event this year,” Hartford said. “There will be a few different events than there have been in the past, including new presentations and the continuation of the latch-on event.”

The latch-on will be officially called “Lawrence Latches On.” This is where women can feed their children all at once, together. They can breastfeed or feed them with pumped milk. The coalition has created the hashtag #Lawrencelatcheson to be used throughout the day on social media.

“Our hope is that people will post pictures using the hashtag to show support at the event, or if they cannot be there that they will participate virtually,” Hartford said.

Another hope of the coalition’s is that people will show support for breastfeeding-friendly spaces. This means that a business or work environment supports breastfeeding and has trained the staff on support and building policies for nursing mothers.

Panda Pediatrics is a breastfeeding-friendly practice in Lawrence, and it is becoming even more so with the recent hire of a lactation consultant.

“Thinking about breastfeeding, it’s something that there is a huge need for,” said Dr. Waco Goodnight, physician at Panda Pediatrics. “Not only is it a huge need in this community, but in this nation, and the United States does not support breastfeeding like it should.”

Goodnight is ecstatic that Panda Pediatrics is a breastfeeding-friendly practice, and he hopes that more locations become breastfeeding-friendly.

“Breastfeeding is just as big a preventative medicine as vaccines. What other medicine can prevent cancer, obesity, mental illness and infant mortality? I’d challenge someone to name a bigger preventative medicine than breastfeeding,” Goodnight said.

The Douglas County World Breastfeeding Week celebration event will be hosted at the Lawrence Public Library. There will be 17 different community partners in attendance to provide information about all things breastfeeding.

“It’s amazing to see how they all come together and how each one provides a different piece to the puzzle,” Hartford said.

The Breastfeeding and New Parent Support Group is free and meets from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Mondays at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. LMH also offers free support through the Infant Nutrition Center for parents who have delivered at LMH for up to two weeks after a baby’s birth. Another support group, which includes evening hours, is the La Leche League of Lawrence, which meets on the second Tuesday of the month at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

For more information about the Breastfeeding Coalition of Douglas County’s World Breastfeeding Week event or for additional resources, visit tinyurl.com/ybrm5kqg.

Celebration at a glance

Here are some activities that will be happening throughout the day:

• The event will take place from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 4 at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St.

• For children, there will be a storytime put on by the library, a baby sing and sign and different activities throughout.

• For adults, there will be a baby wearing presentation, a milk drop activity, various interactive presentations, a “pumping is breastfeeding” presentation, the Lawrence latch-on and more.

• There will be booths set up by 17 community partners who will share their support of breastfeeding and provide relevant learning tools and information.

• Jessica Brewer is an intern in the Marketing and Communications Department at LMH, which is a major sponsor of the Lawrence Journal-World’s Health section. She can be reached at Jessica.Brewer@lmh.org.

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