Moms, friends and families will gather to celebrate and support breastfeeding on Friday, August 2, 10:00 a.m. – noon, at East Flat Rock Park, 107 Blue Ridge Road. The free event takes place during World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, when thousands of women and their children across the world participate in activities to highlight the importance of supporting breastfeeding families. The celebration will showcase community resources that can support a woman in her breastfeeding journey.
Sponsored by WIC and the Henderson County Breastfeeding Coalition, the event will include live music, food and drinks, giveaways and raffles for gift certificates to local restaurants, massages, gift baskets, event tickets and more. Breastfeeding vendors and support groups will be represented. A private area for breastfeeding mothers to nurse will be available. Spanish interpreters will be present.
World Breastfeeding Week’s theme this year is Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding. The Coalition’s long-term goal is to make Hendersonville a Breastfeeding-Friendly City, and this event is a step in that direction.
Studies have shown that breastfeeding not only boosts an infant’s immune system— meaning fewer trips to the doctor. It also lowers the mother’s risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and breast and ovarian cancer. In addition, employers who offer accommodations for nursing mothers realize benefits from increased employee loyalty, reduced turnover and increased productivity.
“Ultimately, however, the true benefit comes when the breastfeeding mom looks into her baby’s face and sees a happy, healthy child smiling back,” said Lori Bradley, nutritionist and program manager for the Health Department’s Breastfeeding & Peer Counselor Program. According to Bradley, 85.3 percent of new mothers in Henderson County initiate breastfeeding, yet only 39.1 percent are breastfeeding at six months. For North Carolina, 84.9 percent of new mothers begin to breastfeed with 58.8 percent still breastfeeding at six months, according to the 2018 CDC Breastfeeding Report Card.
“Mothers need continuous breastfeeding support in order to successfully breastfeed for 6- 12 months. The number suggests that mothers, in part, may not be getting the support they need from healthcare providers, family members or employers,” Bradley said. “The Coalition hopes that moms will be encouraged once they see the resources available to them.”
The Henderson County Breastfeeding Coalition was organized in September 2016 to promote breastfeeding and provide support. Members include the Department of Public Health’s Clinic and WIC Services, Advent Health, Child and Family Resource Center, Head Start and Western Carolina Community Action. Displays and information specific to each participant will be available at the event.
For more information about the World Breastfeeding Week Festival, contact Lori Bradley at (828) 694-6027 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Pilar Bemus at (828) 694-6028 or email@example.com. Visit hendersoncountync.gov/health to learn more about the Breastfeeding & Peer Counselor Program. The Henderson County Breastfeeding Coalition invites individuals to join its Facebook group.