WIC Participates in the Big Latch On
Oswego County Opportunities’ WIC program recently participated in The Big Latch On, a global event focused on protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding families. The Big Latch On originated in New Zealand in 2005 and was introduced to the United States in 2010 in Portland, Oregon. In 2018 The Big Latch On took place in 28 countries in778 countries and had a total attendance of more than 21,500 breastfeeding children and more 60,000 people.
This year the WIC program once again collaborated with the Oswego County Breastfeeding Coalition (OCBC) to bring The Big Latch On to Oswego County. In recognition of World Breastfeeding Week breastfeeding mothers and their families gathered to raise awareness of the normalness of breastfeeding. In this photo, Ermini OCO WIC peer counselor shares information with one of the mothers.
“The theme for this year’s event was Empowering Parents, Enabling Breastfeeding,” said WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator Mary Ellen Pierce, CDN, IBCLC. “Empowering parents is vital to helping them realize their goal of breastfeeding. Our goal is to emphasize that breastfeeding is a normal part of day-to-day life. With the support of fathers, partners, families, workplaces and communities we can work towards creating an enabling environment where mothers can breastfeed optimally. Breastfeeding in public increases cultural comfort with breastfeeding and helps create normal expectations. Being able to breastfeed in public is supportive for the families. We can all help in enabling breastfeeding.”
This year marks the 9th time that WIC has registered Oswego as an official site for The Big Latch On. “This event supports, promotes, and celebrates breastfeeding,” added Pierce. “The Big Latch On is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of breastfeeding and the tremendous benefits it has for newborns. Studies have shown that breastfeeding provides significant health gains such as increased energy and immunity, reduced symptoms of A.D.D., lower risks of heart attacks and colon cancer, and many more.”
With breastfeeding being a major component of the WIC program its staff offers extensive support and counselling. The WIC staff includes one international board certified lactation consultant and 4 peer counsellors, experienced breastfeeding mothers that provide support throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Peer counsellors prepare mothers for what to expect in the first few hours and days of breastfeeding and are available any time of day once the mother returns home, they also connect mothers with other community programs and services.
For more information on the benefits of breastfeeding, or the many services offered through the WIC Program, you may visit their main office located at the OCO Oswego Health Center, 10 George Street in Oswego, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., or call them at 315-343-1311, or toll free 1-888-730-3803.