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  • 2018 WIC World Breastfeeding Week Celebration-August 3, 2018

2018 WIC World Breastfeeding Week Celebration-August 3, 2018

(Onslow County) – The nutrition provided in a child’s first year makes a significant impact on their health throughout life. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant and Children (WIC) promotes healthy habits and healthy families to help create a strong foundation during this critical time through nutrition counseling, healthy food benefits and breastfeeding support. The assistance provided by WIC has been shown to result in fewer premature births, a reduced incidence of low birth weight infants, a reduction in iron deficiency anemia and an increase in the likelihood that mothers will breastfeed both in the hospital and for 6 months after birth.

The Onslow County WIC Program helps low-income families meet the nutritional needs of pregnant and postpartum women, and infants and children up to 5 years old. “WIC not only offers healthy foods, but also nutrition education and counseling by nutrition experts to help clients adopt a healthy lifestyle, and to teach them how to incorporate the foods provided by the program into a wholesome diet,” said Aisha Ford, Nutrition Program Director for the Onslow County Health Department. “WIC also provides excellent breastfeeding support from trained nutritionists and peer counselors, and referrals to other important services in the area.”

Breastfeeding promotion and support is an important part of the WIC Program. The Onslow County WIC Program has several nutritionists who are trained as Certified Lactation Educators, and Breastfeeding Peer Counselors are ready to assist moms in making informed decisions about how they feed their babies. The Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program offers one-on-one counseling to breastfeeding mothers from experienced breastfeeding mothers, helping to provide guidance in a comfortable and supportive environment. The Onslow County Health Department also offers monthly breastfeeding classes and support groups at two WIC locations. According to Ford, “Breastmilk is the best food for a baby for their first year of life. Breastfeeding not only provides the perfect nutrition for the child, but also strengthens the bond between mother and child and is beneficial economically. However, support is necessary, and WIC helps to provide the framework to ensure success.”

The Onslow County Health Department, in collaboration with the Onslow County Partnership for Children Early Head Start Program and other community partners, will be hosting its annual World Breastfeeding Week Celebration and Health Fair. The event will be held on August 3, 2018 at the Consolidated Human Services Agency building at 612 College Street, Jacksonville, from 1pm to 4pm in the multipurpose room.

The World Breastfeeding Week Celebration acknowledges the breastfeeding mothers and mothers-to-be in the community, and supports and promotes breastfeeding as the natural way to feed a baby. We will honor these women and their families with free healthcare screenings, information about community resources, food and games. It is an opportunity for our agency and our partners to positively reinforce the importance of encouraging a healthy start for babies through breastfeeding and regular health screenings. Breastfeeding mothers, pregnant women planning to breastfeed and families with children under 5 years of age are welcome to attend the celebration and learn more about the resources available to them through WIC and other community organizations.

WIC applications are taken Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm at the Onslow County Consolidated Human Services Agency and at the Tarawa Terrace WIC location. Extended hours until 6:30 p.m. are available on the first four Thursdays of the month at the Consolidated Human Services Agency. Breastfeeding classes are open to the public and available free of charge at both WIC locations.

For more information about WIC, or to make an appointment or register for breastfeeding classes, please visit the Onslow County Consolidated Human Services Agency WIC office located at 612 College Street, Jacksonville or call (910) 347-5002. Military dependents are also welcome to visit the WIC office on base located at 2455 Iwo Jima Boulevard, Tarawa Terrace or call (910) 353-0022. To qualify for WIC, families must reside in North Carolina, be at or below 185% of the poverty level, and be at nutritional risk. A nutritionist or other health professional makes the nutritional risk assessment at no cost to the participant during the initial appointment at WIC. You may also visit the WIC website at www.nutritionnc.com.