Breastfeeding is important for babies, mothers, other birth parents and families. Many families start breastfeeding but are often unable to achieve their goals due to a lack of support. The Polk-Norman-Mahnomen Community Health Services WIC (PNM WIC) program supports families before and during their infant feeding journey by talking about the importance of breastmilk, providing supplemental foods to meet the nutritional needs of a breastfeeding parent and providing resources to help families achieve their infant feeding goals.

“A support system can be the key to successful breastfeeding, especially when the journey is tough. WIC is there for families every step of the way, starting with pregnancy,” said Tammy Conn, coordinator of the breastfeeding for PNM WIC “We provide additional food benefits to pregnant and breastfeeding parents, but our support goes beyond food. Whether it’s working with a WIC lactation specialist, connecting with a WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor or connect to other resources in your community, WIC can help you in many ways.

National Breastfeeding Month

PNM WIC and the Minnesota WIC Program are celebrating National Breastfeeding Month and World Breastfeeding Week by asking eligible families to apply for WIC (https://redcap.health.state.mn.us/redcap/surveys/?s=LNKN377EPE) early in pregnancy and seek advice and support early and often during the infant feeding journey to achieve the best possible results.

To celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, local breastfeeding support group, Mama’s Milk Connection, will be hosting a special event, “Party at the Playground,” on August 4, from 5:30 p.m. at 7:00 p.m., at the Valley Community Service Center Tri-Playground (Head Start), 1407 Erskine Street, Crookston. Pregnant and nursing families are welcome to enjoy a meal at the Baked Potato Bar, along with entertainment, games and fellowship.

WIC supports families

The PNM WIC program supports breastfeeding in any quantity and is there for families who feed their babies a combination of breastmilk and formula and families who use formula exclusively. The nationwide formula recall and shortage is stressful for parents and future parents. Ways we can help you:

  • Apply for a WIC (https://redcap.health.state.mn.us/redcap/surveys/?s=LNKN377EPE) in early pregnancy.
  • Contact a WIC Breastfeeding Specialist or PNM WIC Peer Counselor for breastfeeding information and support. Creating a plan before birth and seeking help as soon as possible after birth can lead to successful breastfeeding.
  • Attend regular monthly Mama’s Milk Connection meetings on the 3rd Thursday of the month, 6-7 p.m. Call 218-281-1673 for meeting information and location.
  • WIC can help parents get back to work. Minnesota has strengthened its law to protect pregnant and nursing parents in the workplace. Learn more about the change and other WIC breastfeeding resources (https://www.health.state.mn.us/people/wic/bf/morebflinks.html).
  • WIC provides formula benefits to supplement breastfeeding when needed and can provide advice to increase milk supply for parents using a combination of breast milk and formula.

Peer Breastfeeding Program

Breastfeeding Peer Support Program (https://www.health.state.mn.us/docs/people/wic/localagency/reports/bf/info/2022peer.pdf) is available to serve 15% more WIC families statewide this year with four new programs. Some existing peer programs also increased their capacity this year. The program features parents with personal experience breastfeeding their own children, who are recruited from the communities they serve and trained to help WIC participants with common breastfeeding issues. Since 2016, Polk-Norman-Mahnomen WIC families have been offered a breastfeeding peer counselor. The onset of pregnancy is the perfect time for mother and peer to start a conversation about breastfeeding. The peer can share educational breastfeeding tips along the way. It becomes easy to talk/text your friend, ask questions and share your successes while getting help along the way.

Additional WIC statistics

For more information on breastfeeding, the PNM WIC program, or Mama’s Milk Connection, contact Polk County WIC at 218-281-1673 or Norman Mahnomen Public Health at 218-784-5425

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