IDAHO FALLS – Eastern Idaho Public Health’s WIC program and the BEST (Breastfeeding Education and Support Team) council for babies and moms held the annual “Picnic in the Park” event Friday in recognition of World Breastfeeding Week.
The theme of this year’s picnic was “Breastfeeding and work: Let’s make it work.” The event celebrated and educated residents about breastfeeding and raised support for breastfeeding in Idaho.
“It is important for employers to understand that even though a moms goes back to work, it doesn’t mean that she is going to stop breastfeeding, and there are actually federal laws put in place to help breastfeeding moms,” said WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Coordinator Hilary Coyne. WIC wants to help employers and mothers work together to ensure infants get the nutrition they need.
Vendors set up stands that had helpful products and tips for nursing mothers. Many gave away information and prizes as well. Breastfeeding coordinators were there to help residents learn more about breastfeeding. Coordinators are helping clients one on one with breastfeeding issues, WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator Katie Leasksaid said. WIC representatives hope this event raises awareness that mothers can still breastfeed if they work or stay at home and that it is the gold standard for infants.
At the picnic, Melaleuca was honored as a work site breastfeeding champion. Melaleuca has implemented many practices to help employees who are nursing mothers.
Melaleuca provides mother’s lounges for “pump breaks” and offers free breastfeeding equipment to mothers. It also gives free access to a maternity nurse and education resources through its Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby wellness program.
“It’s been a fun project to support the moms, especially as they need to and choose to work and have a career. To be able to allow them to continue to nurse their babies is really important for them and us,” said Belinda VanderSloot, representing Melaleuca.
Picnic in the Park was a free event and included refreshments, educational booths, vendors, door prices, games and activities for children.