Summer is officially here, which means I’m ready to get outside and so is everyone else! Warmth and sun make for exciting family trips to playgrounds, farmer’s markets, mountains, lakes and fairs around the state. But to me, the best part of these trips isn’t the weather or the crowds (or lack there of), instead I love that there’s always a space for breastfeeding mama’s to sit down and nurse.
If you didn’t know already, Vermont exceeds the national average of ever breastfed children by 4.2%. In Vermont, a whopping 81% of women have ever breastfed! Vermont and Colorado are in the lead nationally for the highest percentage of mothers still exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months with 23% in Vermont and 26% in Colorado. Go Vermont!
The real question is, how is Addison County doing with breastfeeding? Well, we have some of the best breastfeeding rates throughout the state with Porter Hospital consistently ranking 1st or 2nd in the state for the most women breastfeeding upon discharge (approximately 94% of women). Within the WIC program (Women, Infants and Children) in Addison County, approximately 60% of women were breastfeeding in October 2012. This number is continually increasing and with all that Addison County is doing, it’s no wonder!
So, what is going on in Addison County to promote breastfeeding? There are a number of groups and classes led by a variety of people including Lactation Consultants (IBCLC’s), La Leche League, WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselors, WIC, and more.
There is a local online newsletter called “Keeping Abreast” which comes out quarterly. It’s filled with helpful resources and ideas to keep you motivated and supported during your breastfeeding journey. Keeping Abreast is put out jointly by the Addison County Breastfeeding Coalition and the Breastfeeding Project of Rutland County. In the newsletter, you will find updated breastfeeding class schedules, new breastfeeding research, and other local events. If you want to receive this helpful newsletter, simply email your full name and email address to me at Gillian.Macmurtry@state.vt.us.
This July the “Keeping Abreast” newsletter will be highlighting events taking place for World Breastfeeding Week, August 1st to August 7th. In Addison County, there will be a celebratory picnic August 1ˢᵗ to kick off World Breastfeeding Week on the town green at 11:30 a.m.. There will also be Breastfeeding Standees (life-size cut outs of breastfeeding women) spread all over businesses in Vergennes and Middlebury throughout the week with prizes to those who find them and post a picture on our Vermont Department of Health -Middlebury Facebook wall. From August 6th to August 10th there will be a presence at Field Days with the VT Health Department ‘Nursing Nook’ which is a clean, cool space for moms and moms-to-be to relax and breastfeed their babies. Don’t forget to check it out!
Learn more about what’s going on by calling the Middlebury Health Department at 388-5741.