WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – August is National Breastfeeding Month, and, according to the CDC, the number of breastfeeding moms is increasing across the country.
The latest data from the CDC shows 79 percent of newborn infants are breastfed. The number drops to 49 percent by the time the child is six months old and to 27 percent by a year old.
The average number of breastfed infants in Ohio and Pennsylvania is below the national average. The Ohio average is 70 percent while Pennsylvania’s average is 73 percent.
The Trumbull County WIC is host to a new group called The Lactation Club. The group held its first meeting in August.
“I love breastfeeding. It’s beautiful, absolutely beautiful,” said Norma Pemberton, a breastfeeding mother.
Seventeen-month-old Kendall was playing while mom Norma networked with other members during The Lactation Club meeting. Norma has been exclusively breastfeeding since Kendall’s birth.
WIC Breastfeeding Peer Helpers guide all moms through the process even if the moms have to go back to work.
“It can be a stressful time for moms, and support helps out a lot,” Sonja Gavitt, a WIC Breastfeeding Peer Helper said.
Gavitt is part of the support system. She lets moms know there are options.
“For the mom who wants to pump, that there are laws that help protect her to be able to pump at work and many people don’t know that,” Gavitt said.
The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to provide a private space to pump that is not a bathroom.
Gavitt encourages women to have an open discussion with their bosses even before giving birth.
The moms also learned about The Rebecca Foundation’s cloth diaper lending program. The foundation offers free supplies to those who cannot afford the start-up cost.
“In the long run, you’re saving money because you’re not throwing away money every week,” said Gina Whitelock, president of the Warren Chapter of The Rebecca Foundation.
Breastfeeding also saves money because parents do not have to buy formula.
Norma said she will not stop breastfeeding until her son wants to stop.
“I just wanted to let breastfeeding moms know: don’t give up. Don’t let no one shame you because you’re breastfeeding a toddler. It’s absolutely normal,” Norma said.
The Lactation Club will have its second meeting on Monday, September 21 at 1:30 p.m. at Trumbull County WIC. The group is open to any pregnant or breastfeeding mother as well as breastfeeding advocates.
Trumbull County WIC is located at 258 East Market Street, Suite #201, Warren, Ohio 44481.