Community invited to participate in breastfeeding event

Mothers, expectant mothers and family members can participate in activities and receive breastfeeding information at the fourth annual Breastfeeding Fair next week.

The Lord Fairfax Health District will host the fair at 10 a.m. Aug. 5 at the Warren County Health Department at 465 W. 15th St. in Front Royal.

Victoria Crone, program supervisor for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)  through the Lord Fairfax Health District and Frederick-Winchester Health Department, said the event is designed in part to combat stigmas associated with breastfeeding.

“The event was created to promote breastfeeding as the preferred method of infant feeding and to normalize breastfeeding within our community,” she said.

New to the fair this year is “The Global Big Latch On.” This is a global effort to bring women together at local sites to breastfeed at the same time and offer peer support. Last year, more than 15,000 women breastfed their children at the same time at more than 650 locations worldwide. Warren County’s Breastfeeding Fair is registered as a 10:30 a.m. local location for the Big Latch On.

“We decided to add on the Global Big Latch On event this year in order to create a greater awareness to the public,” Crone said. “This event demonstrates normalcy and support for breastfeeding. Moms helping other moms is one of the best support systems for breastfeeding moms.”

She added that event celebrates World Breastfeeding Week and “the theme to World Breastfeeding Week 2016 is a Key to Sustainable Development and highlights the sustainability benefits to breastfeeding.”

The fair has only recently been opened to the general public, she said. Last year, they had 22 mothers attend the breastfeeding fair with family members. In years past, the fair had only been open to WIC participants.

“This year we have decided to open the event to the public in order to promote breastfeeding and provide support to our community,” Crone said.

“Breastfeeding is best for the infant, for the mother and for the community,” she said.

Benefits for babies include natural protection from illness, reduction in the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and help with brain development.

She added that breast milk is also more easily digested, reducing the chance of diarrhea and constipation in babies, and it changes to meet the needs of the growing baby.

Benefits to the mother, she said, include helping the mother heal after delivery through contraction of the uterus and reduced bleeding, releasing hormones that create a strong bond between the mother and baby, lowering the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

She also said that other benefits include fewer sick days from work and lower medical costs because the child is sick less often. Breast milk also doesn’t require extra resources to prepare.

Crone noted that the Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, then breastfeeding in conjunction with introductory foods followed by the continuation of breastfeeding for however long is desired by the mother and baby.

The fair is free and open to the public. The schedule of activities includes:
• An open house from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
“The Global Big Latch On” registrations at 10 a.m.
“The Global Big Latch On” event at 10:30 a.m.
• Mom and Baby story time at 1 p.m.
• Fun and Fit with a WIC activity at 1:30 p.m.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or