Summit County: Breastfeeding week supported by the Summit Prevention Alliance |

Summit County: Breastfeeding week supported by the Summit Prevention Alliance

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Summit County, Colorado

SUMMIT COUNTY – As the 2009 World Breastfeeding Week approaches, the Summit Prevention Alliance is bolstering efforts locally to promote breastfeeding for better health.

“It’s nutritious,” said Joanna Rybak, the community prevention coordinator at Summit Prevention Alliance. “It’s the most nutritious way an infant can start feeding. Breastfeeding in general has shown that it lowers obesity in childhood and adolescence, and it helps mom go back to her pre-pregnancy weight.”

The worldwide education week runs Aug. 1-7 and its theme – “Breastfeeding: A Vital Emergency Response – Are You Ready?” – is supposed to serve as a reminder for everyone that breastfeeding is crucial for infant development. It also asks that breastfeeding support be included in emergency preparation plans so mothers and babies can continue breastfeeding no matter what happens.

According to Rybak, breast-fed children have lower rates for cavities and other infections. She said it’s also proven to be vital for women’s health by lowering the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Because of this, the alliance – an organization focused on better health – is a huge supporter of breastfeeding.

“There’s a lot that we’re doing,” Rybak said, noting that work with the St. Anthony Summit Medical Center’s lactation consultant, Mary Jo Foley, is tremendously important to the cause. “The hospital started giving out breastfeeding discharge bags to new moms. Hospitals traditionally give out formula.”

She also wants to remind the community about the local WIC program – a national entity meaning “Women, Infants and Children.”

WIC’s programming is for low- income women who are pregnant or who recently became new moms, said Susan Westhof, a prevention coordinator at the alliance. Antonieta Butler is the Spanish-speaking lactation consultant at WIC.

“They don’t give any formula to moms in the first six weeks and they exclusively encourage breast- feeding,” Rybak said. “That’s a big step for WIC.”

The alliance additionally has funding for local employers who want to create private breastfeeding areas for new mothers.

“If someone is breastfeeding, they need to keep pumping the milk to keep producing it,” Westhof said. “We’re trying to support local businesses who have breastfeeding employees.”

According to Westhof, Mountain River Naturopathic Clinic, Early Childhood Options, Carriage House Early Learning Center and Little Red Schoolhouse all have worked with the alliance to create lactation areas for employees and other women in the area.

Mountain River Naturopathic Clinic’s breastfeeding room is open to the public. For more information, call (970) 668-1300.

For breastfeeding support and information, call Foley (970) 668-2875 or Butler at (970) 668-9701.

More information about the alliance is available at Call Westhof at (970) 668-2077 with any questions.

Caitlin Row can be reached

at (970) 668-4633 or

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