Award-Winning Ravalli County WIC Supports Breastfeeding Moms

Award-Winning Ravalli County WIC Supports Breastfeeding Moms“Our local staff works hard to promote breastfeeding. Our local agency recently won recognition for having the best initiation rate for breastfeeding of all mid-size agencies in the State of Montana. Our office staff established the peer counselor program in Montana, and trains staff at other local agencies in the Loving Support model. Our agency was awarded a Loving Support Gold Award in 2015 for our efforts, and was the only agency in Montana to receive that award. 

Many participants do not know anything about breastfeeding and many have no family members nearby to support them. Our staff offers breastfeeding education at each WIC appointment and offers breastfeeding classes, including one-on one education when needed. These efforts help inform our participants of the many benefits of breastfeeding, offer basic information, and instill confidence. This is particularly true for very young moms, fist-time moms, and moms who have tried to breastfeed in the past but were unsuccessful.  

Some examples of moms who have benefited from our staff to support and promote breastfeeding:

A mom with three small children has breastfed them all, but as she has encountered barriers such as mastitis and working out how to feed her infant during back surgery, and also how to navigate the need to multitask with sometimes limited energy, our staff has tried to help. By offering encouragement, praise, support, empathy, and problem-solving assistance, our staff was able to help her through such barriers. As a peer counselor who has been through similar experiences as a breastfeeding mom, I was able to relate in a supportive way.

A Native American mom in a population with less than average breastfeeding rates was able to successfully breastfeed her child for over nine months in spite of economic and cultural barriers. Our staff was able to help by listening, encouraging, praising, giving basic information, and making our breastfeeding cell number available so that she was able to access someone when she felt the need. We were able to establish a relationship of trust with her.”

Cassandra, Ravalli County Montana WIC

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