BELLAIRE – Belmont County marked August as National Breastfeeding Month on Wednesday with a “Mama-Palooza” at Bellaire City Park to promote breastfeeding.
Agencies such as Help Me Grow, WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital, WVU Medicine Reynolds Memorial Hospital, The Village Network, CareSource, Head Start, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and Belmont County Women, Infants and Children were on hand to provide information to news and future mothers. and connect them with resources for young children.
WIC supervisor Lori DeCoy said about 20 people showed up from across the county.
Melissa Lennox of Martins Ferry is expecting a child and commented on the benefits of breastfeeding.
“I’ve breastfed all of my kids, so I plan to do breastfeeding this time too,” she says. “I saw a huge health benefit. My son was in a (neonatal intensive care unit) for 28 days (and is now a healthy 6 year old).
“I just had a baby and I’m breastfeeding” Destiny Vaughn from Martins Ferry said, adding that it was her first baby and she wanted to know more about the health benefits. “It was a good way to get out, learn more and get to know some people. … They give out free books, they send them home for the kids and the Early Head Start program to get the kids involved. … They have a lot of resources.
“A lot of people are anxious and excited about classes and ongoing care,” Angelica Radevski, a registered nurse at WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital, said.
Additionally, Belmont County Commissioners recognized Breastfeeding Week, celebrated August 1-7 this year.
DeCoy and Kristin Parker, Breastfeeding Peer Supporters with WIC, shared their progress in promoting breastfeeding and educating parents about the health benefits of this practice. They were joined by Katie Bayness, a nursing mother and Belmont County human resources administrator, her husband Kenny and young children.
DeCoy reported that the number of breastfeedings in Belmont County increased to 52 from the average of around 40.
Issues such as the shortage of infant formula may have played some role in the increase.
“We don’t know if it’s just because of the formula shortage or not,” she says.
DeCoy said research suggests the positive benefits of breastfeeding include reducing the risk of several diseases.
They also encourage businesses and communities to make mothers feel more comfortable breastfeeding in public. According to Ohio Revised Code Section 3781.55, breastfeeding in public is legal in Ohio.
For more information, call WIC at 740-676-2232.